In trying to explain away the confusion over his stance on the Norwich Unitary bid in the Evening News, Dr Gibson concludes by saying that “I await to see if a referendum is called.”
As it was the Conservatives who first put down a motion to call a public vote on Unitary, opposed by Labour and the LibDems, I welcome his tacit support for a referendum. However, I might have thought that one of our City MPs might be a bit more up to date because the government has specifically ruled out a vote on the issue. In the same way that Gordon Brown refuses the people of the UK a vote on the proposed EU Constitution, his government refuses us a vote on how we should be governed locally.
The refusal of the Labour Government to allow local people a say before their local Council is considered for abolition is a denial of democracy. On the 5th July, the Conservatives in the House of Lords put down an amendment to require a binding referendum before any new Unitary Councils are created. The Government said, “where a democratically elected Council takes a decision it should be validated in the normal way through a local election, the most significant referendum of all. In our representative democracy, it is surely up to a democratically elected Council to make a decision that the electorate can always contradict at the ballot box."
So local people are to be denied a voice again by Dr Gibson’s government, although I am sure that they will take the government’s advice and take the opportunity at any future general election to elect an MP who has consistently opposed Unitary for Norwich.