There were furious scenes at tonight’s council meeting in Norwich after Labour and LibDem Councillors voted down plans for a democratic referendum on the controversial unitary issue – and then proceeded to stop Conservative councillors and rebels from their own ranks taking part in the debate.
After just 4 speeches on the motion, Labour Councillor Alan Waters moved a motion to vote on the issue straight away – backed by Labour and the LibDems – which blocked two Conservative Councillors and breakaway Green and LibDems from speaking.
This is clearly a “double attack on democracy” and it was an attempt to suppress anti-unitary feeling in the council chamber and in their own parties. Catton Grove Conservative Councillor Eve Collishaw and Lib Dem Mile Cross Councillor Carl Mayhew both attempted to log that their efforts to speak had been denied in the minutes but were refused by council chiefs.
This is an unbelievable attack on democracy. The people of Bowthorpe, Catton Grove and Mile Cross should all know that their voices were silenced by an oppressive Labour and LibDem majority on the council.
First they say that government, not the people, should decide on the future of our local government, and now they say that anti-unitary councillors shouldn’t be able to speak in the debate.
We know that Labour treat Norwich like their own fiefdom and don’t want Conservatives to raise the issue of the amount of money they are wasting on this issue or the idea that people should vote on the future on the council but we are democratically elected and will continue to speak up for our constituents.
Councillors are, quite rightly, fuming about this tonight. What is the point of being elected if Labour and the LibDems won’t let free speech rule?
LibDem Councillor Carl Mayhew stormed out of the meeting just seconds after being denied the right to speak on the issue. We all know how Carl Mayhew felt on this issue, but we stayed to oppose more wasteful spending by the LibDems in the next motion. The question now remains – do Norwich City Council believe in democracy at all?
This issue won't go away now ... its open season in City Hall.