Tunley drops motion on switch to committees after realising councillors would be denied free vote

Alan Pain

Alan Pain - Credit: Archant

A councillor’s bid to get Fenland Council to switch from a cabinet style system of governance to committees fell at the first hurdle.

Cllr Peter Tunley withdrew the motion from last Thursday’s council meeting after realising the ruling Tory group- of which he was previously a member- was unlikely to allow a free vote on the issue.

His statement withdrawing the motion followed the announcement by Alan Pain, the council’s monitoring officer, that if a committee system was agreed it could not be undone for at five years.

Mr Pain had also warned that only a referendum could undo a council decision – with the cost of running such a referendum liable to cost the council in excess of £100,000.

In his motion Cllr Tunley had claimed committees would offer “democracy and accountability for all councillors and therefore all electors”.


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He had also claimed that the cabinet system had ensured “ordinary councillors of all parties have been denied the right to a public vote on many important decision making processes and that this is fundamentally undemocratic”.

Cllr Tunley, who has switched to independent from Conservative, is planning to re-instate the debate over committee systems if he is successful in the May elections.

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