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Tories seize control of BCP Council's place overview and scrutiny committee as well as corporate and community overview and scrutiny committee



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CONSERVATIVES have taken control of two BCP Council panels tasked with scrutinising their party's administration.

The place overview and scrutiny committee went by one vote to the ruling group, writes Trevor Bevins of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Cllr Sean Gabriel (Canford Heath) took the chairship and Cllr Bob Lawton (West Southbourne) became vice-chair.

Cllr Sean Gabriel and Cllr Bob Lawton (right) the chair and vice-chair of the BCP place overview and scrutiny committee
Cllr Sean Gabriel and Cllr Bob Lawton (right) the chair and vice-chair of the BCP place overview and scrutiny committee

Independent Cllr Steve Bartlett, who has served almost two years as an overview and scrutiny chair, was defeated along with fellow Independent Cllr Lesley Dedman who stood for the vice-chair.

Cllr Bartlett appealed for committee members to ignore the party whip and vote for him to ensure the committee had a strong voice as a “critical friend”.

He said he could deliver a strong overview and scrutiny function “that is not interfered with by party politics".

He said: "Please use your personal judgement and don’t bow to any pressure you may have been submitted to by your whips.”

Both he and Cllr Dedman, who said she came with 15 years' council experience on six local councils, were defeated 5-6.

Previously, Tory Cllr Lawrence Williams was also voted in as chair of the corporate and community overview and scrutiny committee.

The function of the committees is to put proposals from the ruling group to the test and to keep a close eye on the finances.

In many councils, including neighbouring Dorset, the chairs are traditionally held by independent or opposition group councillors, although not in New Forest District Council.

Opposition councillors have previously claimed the BCP Tories are only doing so because they don’t want their proposals to be challenged.



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