Conservative councillors have walked out on talks over creating a committee system at Norfolk County Council - after their proposals were rejected.

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Members of Norfolk County Council voted in November, by 41 to 35, with two abstentions, for a proposal to move away from the current cabinet model in favour of a form of committee governance from May this year.

Following that decision, a cross party steering group of councillors was formed to consider the details of how the new arrangements will work, ahead of a vote on the final structure in April.

The steering group - made up of two Labour councillors, two Conservative councillors, two Green councillors, two Liberal Democrat councillors, two UK Independence Party councillors and independent Richard Bird - met at County Hall today.

But the Conservatives - Cliff Jordan and Alison Thomas - walked out of the meeting, saying they would no longer participate in an “undemocratic process”.

The Conservatives had tabled their own proposals for a new committee system, which they said would give all members democratic participation and oversight on decisions.

But the Conservative proposal was defeated. UKIP councillor Paul Smyth, chairman of the steering group, used his casting vote to reject the proposal after it was tied at five votes for and five votes against, with one abstention.

The Conservatives, who lost control of County Hall to a Labour/Liberal Democrat administration supported by UKIP last May, said they were unhappy at the democratic representation on the steering group, which offers equal representation to each party, regardless of their size.

Mr Jordan said: “The Rainbow Alliance has clubbed together to ensure the Conservatives, which have 25 more seats than their nearest rival, don’t have a real say on issues.

“Enough is enough: our views have been ignored and ridiculed, while our experience counts for naught; we will no longer give this undemocratic process a veneer of democracy by participating.”

George Nobbs, Labour leader of the council said: “I am very surprised that such senior and seasoned figures as Cliff Jordan and Alison Thomas would storm out of a meeting just because they did not get their own way.

“I would hope they would reconsider, as this is something the whole council has decided to do and it is a shame if the Conservatives do not want to take part in the democratic process.”

Green group leader Richard Bearman, a member of the steering group who voted against the Conservative recommendation, said of the Conservative withdrawal from talks: “It is very disappointing. We have had two rival proposals - one from Labour and one from the Conservatives and, in my view, they were not too far apart.

“I thought there was scope for compromise and hoped all parties would see the value of coming up with a system that works best for everybody. But I do not know where we go from here.”

32 comments

  • I agree with John Martin and that is why I have called for Castle to produce a paper showing his recommendations and reasoning to the electorate BEFORE the budget meeting. Thomas is now no longer in power but the electorate has the opportunity to challenge these cabinet members every inch of the way and should insist on these rights. It has been increasingly evident that the call-in scrutiny procedure is now undermined so it is up to the electorate to take a more active role if they feel transparency is being neglected. We also have to be sure that the C abinet is manned by people of integrity and have sufficient intellect to match the officers who at the moment are running the show.

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    maryjane

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • I suspect this is the beginning of the end of the Leadership in its present form....totally unfit for purpose. The democratic deficit is alive and well right at the top of the tree. This is the first example of where the NCC is now completely impotent and incapable. A classic example of how coalition politics doesn't work, all led by a disastrous out of touch Leader. I bet Nobbs is really looking forward to Monday's full council meeting.

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    Scooby

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Thomas has yet to answer on her role in the children's services. The period in which over 1900 children in need cases went unallocated were under her watch. She yet to answer why large numbers on vunerable children were placed at risk and she backed a Social Services department was understaffed and not fit for purpose. Alison Thomas do not throw your weight around when you are not fit for office yourself.

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    Little fish

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Seems a new trend for the Conservatives to walk out of anything. For example Iain Duncan Smith walking out over the use of Foodbanks debate.

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    che bramley

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • The Tories are a pretty ropey bunch but these are two of the ropiest. I might have expected them to spit their dummies out. Now put your dummies back in children and sit at the back of the class. They must be able to dig out a couple of Tories who aren't so ridiculously childish though I wont be surprised if they don't. Roll on the committee system that these two anti democrats are so frightened of.

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    alecto

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • “Enough is enough: our views have been ignored and ridiculed, while our experience counts for naught; we will no longer give this undemocratic process a veneer of democracy by participating.” That's a bit rich coming from the Con's. If they feel like that about local democracy then they should try looking at it from the electorates perspective; anybody fancy a vote on the E.U, oh yes of course we have not and never will get a say on the matter. Total hypocrisy. Vote UKIP

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    Harvey Crusader

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • Pathetic. Put aside egoes for gods sake and start working for the people of Norfolk.

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    guella

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • We can only hope Dictate!

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    alecto

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • If Thomas was Social Worker she would have been sacked and never allowed to work with children again. Her failiure to understand the basis of how childrens services are run are now costing Norfolk tax payers millions of pounds to sort out.

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    Little fish

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • I fail to understand why Cliff Jordan doesn’t want to participate in an “undemocratic process” when he was quite happy to when he was a Cabinet member prior to the May election. As for “our views have been ignored and ridiculed,” cue 65,516 people in West Norfolk for the past 3 years. What’s up Iffy, finding that boot uncomfortable on the other foot?

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    Honest John

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • The Conservatives have had it their way for too long. With the proportional system of Councillors allocated to committees based on their group numbers they have great power through chairing committee,and are still unhappy. They are not in the majority,the others were voted in on changing to an alternative system of governance and that is what must happen urgently for it to be brought into action at the Council's next A.G.M. Hopefully Conservative Councillors will see that even new kids on the block can learn fast and be democratic and transparent,unlike them.

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    bedoomed

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • These 2 clowns walked away from the education mess they created too and now blame everybody else for failing Norfolk children.....disgraceful behaviour!

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    Sportswagon

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • And so say all of us !!

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    Sandy.L

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Well, I'm a natural Conservative voter but since the undemocratic incinerator fiasco, they've got a lot to do to win my trust to get my vote for NCC. Further childish behaviour from "Iffy Cliffy" and his mates does nothing to impress me. I guess I'll be voting UKIP again.

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    Birdman

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Good for them - who wouldn't, having to deal with the clowns in these other parties!

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    Norfolk John

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Questions for Thomas to answer. Why did she agree major cuts to the children's services budget in 20102011? Why did she allow safeguarding and looked after children's services run between 2011 2013 to be so underfunded that vunerable children were placed at risk? Why following the 2013 did she back no changes to the management structure of children's services? It was a mess that you now need to explain and not blame on others!

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    Little fish

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • Hilarious - what goes around, comes around. Funny how Jordan was always the first to throw his weight around and bandy insults into the air like confetti when he had a bit of clout! And as for Thomas - a copy of Heat Magazine has a bigger spine than she does - pity she didn't step up to the mark when Norfolk's vulnerable children were suffering whilst she was on watch.

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    User Removed

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • It really is time that Central Government stand in and take control of NCC. You can take no confidence that persons who act in such a childish manner can effectively run the show. I only hope that when they walked out, they kept walking and are now south of the border. Even better if they pick up Richard Bacon en- route and take him with them.

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    Ellie

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • This council is not fit for purpose and it becomes more apparent every week.

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    Sweet cheeks

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • I second John Martins concerns and would ask these two councillors who have made many mistakes, not just refused to cooperate cross party, but serious mistakes that cost money and emotional distress in many, to resign for the good of Norfolk. The committee system should be introduced in April, we can't wait any longer and be subjected to the kind of decision making that has put the back of 65.000 voters up.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • Little fish, the article is about Conservatives walking out on talks. It's not about childrens services which is a different issue. I suppose the little goldfish swims in circles because its memory retention is short which stops it getting bored but it can't retain the main headline and therefore goes off somewhere else. Get over it and move forward on to current issues rather than continuing to recycle old ones!

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    Andy T

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • If ever there was an example that local councils should be non political this is it. If these councillors where school children they would be given detention or in my school days made to stand at front of class.

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    jennifer jane

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Questions for Thomas to answer. Why did she agree major cuts to the children's services budget in 20102011? Why did she allow safeguarding and looked after children's services run between 2011 2013 to be so underfunded that vunerable children were placed at risk? Why following the 2013 did she back no changes to the management structure of children's services? It was a mess that you now need to explain and not blame on others!

    Report this comment

    Little fish

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • What hope is there for the people of Norfolk in these dire financial times when their elected - and paid - representatives consider that they are entitled to behave in such a childish way? They really should resign. But let us look at the individuals in question. First, we have Cliff Jordan, who virtually single-handedly saddled us with the purchase of RAF Coltishall with absolutely no business plan in place, Secondly, we have Alison Thomas, who presided over a total meltdown of childrens' services, and somehow seems to avoided being brought to account. Is it our fault for electing these worthess people for four years? I fear that it is. I am just grateful for the fact that I am not personally to blame in this case. Others are.

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    John Martin

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Dont care about money ,don't try to save !

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    Albert Cooper

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • It's a bit rich for the Tories to claim possession of the democratic high ground. They have consistently ignored fundamental principle of democracy over the incinerator. HYPOCRITES !!!

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    Carborundum

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • They certainly won't get anything done by walking out childish and stupid get a grip!!

    Report this comment

    Reader

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • These pair should just resign, they really are a joke

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    Sweet cheeks

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • In this case, it's "VOTE UKIP and GET TORY". So much for an "Independence" party. Other than that, it's business as usual, with the Tory expert on the Benefits System (Jordan) and his chum behaving in the usual selfish infantile way, and blow the people of Norfolk. Typical.

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    T Doff

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Is there just the slightest of chances that having "walked out" they might stay out!

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    Dictate

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • What seems odd, and is no where explained in the report, is why this working party had half the Green Group (two out of four) but one-twentieth (two out of forty) of the Conservatives. I thought there was some rule that committees and working parties had to be proportionate to the overall strength of the groups on the Council.

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    Old Hand

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Thomas and Jordan are an embarrassment. Grow up!

    Report this comment

    Catty

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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