“A Black Day for local democracy”
South Gloucestershire residents have been denied a say on a major constitutional change in what has been labelled a “Black Day for local democracy” in the district.
Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors voted down a Conservative proposal to consult with the public at tonight’s Full Council meeting (Wednesday 21st March), even though Bristol residents have the chance to vote in a referendum on how their council is run.
They then used their combined majority to force through the scrapping of the Cabinet system and a return to the slow and ineffectual old-style Committee system.
Cllr John Calway (Con, Longwell Green), Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, said:
“Over the years, we have built up a proud record of engaging with and listening to our residents.”
“But, thanks to opposition councillors, my fear is that we’ve now thrown that away.”
“There is no other way of looking at it – this has become a Black Day for local democracy in South Gloucestershire.”
Cllr Matthew Riddle (Con, Severn) added:
“There’s nothing more important than how the council is run and how decisions are made that affect the lives of all our residents – yet such a decision has been made without asking them.”
“Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors are simply not able to look any of their constituents in the eye and say that they asked them what their views were before forcing through such a significant constitutional change.”
“Any South Gloucestershire councillor who truly believes in transparency, accountability and democracy would not deny their residents a say on this issue, particularly when residents just down the road in Bristol are being given a referendum on how their council is run.”
Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council
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