Councillor Vince Maple, Leader of Medway Labour Group, has written to the Leader of the Council, Councillor Alan Jarrett, to inform him that the Medway Labour Group will seek to hold the Cabinet to account. The letter can be seen below:
I’m writing following the debate at the last full council regarding the opportunity for the public or non cabinet members to make contributions / ask questions at future cabinet meetings. During the debate you made it clear that you feel the opportunity is there for opposition councillors within the current constitutional arrangements. Having spoken with officers it is clear there is that ability and that has been used on rare occasions.
Therefore I would like to make you aware that the main opposition party intends to make greater use of this opportunity within the cabinet process as we feel it is vital to use all democratic processes to their fullest in carrying out our role.
I would like to lay out some context to that:
I would hope you would agree that as an opposition we have used the call in process very sparingly – considerably less than many other opposition groups of various political persuasions. We believe taking this responsible approach allows for the council and cabinet to proceed in a business like way only using that particularly democratic process primarily where there is an matter of great public interest for example in the closure of schools or adult services.
I would also want to be clear that in using this process, our main focus will be on those decisions where the cabinet are the final decision maker rather than full council.
There will also be occasions where we will wish to show support on issues where there is a cross party consensus – for example if there was a need to revisit the issue of the estuary airport, it would be a powerful message to all those listening to have strong collective message for any cabinet decision on the matter.
I have copied in the relevant officers who would need to look at the practical management of this and as it is a matter of public interest I have placed a copy of this letter on the Group Website.
Finally, in the interests of fairness and to allow you reasonable time to reflect I am not proposing making use of this at tomorrow’s cabinet meeting.
I look forward to hearing your views on this matter.