LETTER: Tories become ‘judge and jury’

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Your correspondent Peter Grace appears so carried away with his own rhetoric and bluster that he gets several facts wrong, and omits others.

The county council has ten UKIP members, eight Liberal Democrats and six Labour members. All are minority opposition parties as the Tories have 46 seats.

It is also worth pointing out that the Tories obtained 65 per cent of the seats with 38 per cent of the votes across West Sussex, hardly a fair or representative voting system!

He states that I have received “expenses and other money” for being a member of virtually every Health Authority and other health-based committee. Can I put the record straight that I have never received an allowance in respect of any Health Authority on which I have served in the past, and as I serve on none at the present time I receive none today.

I do not want any more allowances, and indeed there is none to vice-chairs in any case.

What I wanted was fairness to all opposition parties.

The point I made was about the Tories taking all the Chair and vice-chair positions of the committees scrutinising Tory Cabinet member decisions, was that it made them in effect “judge and jury”, and lessened the democratic accountability and transparency of decision making.

It also ignored the County Council Constitution. It adversely affects UKIP, Liberal Democrats and Labour ( and their voters), and is in stark contrast to Parliament where Select/Scrutiny Chairs are shared between all the parties.

The fact that all these post-holders are Conservative, and taking an extra £293,000 of taxpayers’ money above their basic councillor allowances, just adds insult to injury.

Dr JAMES WALSH

Liberal Democrat Group Leader, West Sussex County Council, and county councillor for Littlehampton East, County Hall, Chichester