Ex-Tory cabinet minister Letwin (now Independent MP for West Dorset) back second referendum

The schism between East Devon and West Dorset MPs widens:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-boris-johnson-latest-tory-oliver-letwin-no-deal-referendum-eu-a9098571.html

EDDC, Tiggers, EDA and global heating crisis – names to be named

East Devon aims to be carbon neutral by 2040 following motion from 20-year-old (Lib Dem) councillor:

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/east-devon-aims-carbon-neutral-3138282?

Straightforward? Er, no – several councillors (Tory and Independent Group) refused to back this because they said it was too ambitious.

Councillors voted by 30 votes to 23 to agree to adopt a 2040 target for the council to be carbon neutral by.

East Devon Alliance were councillors happy to back the young Lib Dem who brought the motion to council. So who didn’t?

As explained by EDA Councillor Paul Arnott in his unique style:

Anyone hearing Devon flannel merchant and Tory grotesque Geoffrey Cox talking through his fundament on Any Questions with unreassuring ease about climate change may see why I had to back this. Superb speeches from 3 20 year old East Devonians at our full council last week and a motion from Luke, the splendid 19 year old Liberal, said it all.

Needless to say, all Tories, and Cabinet loyalists voted against. I called for a recorded vote. When the names of those who voted for are published with the minutes, that, in my opinion, is the group likely to deliver real change as demanded by the electorate in May.”

Some councillors showing a lot more independence and a lot less Group …

Independent Group councillors getting flak about Exmouth regeneration

Contributors do appear somewhat confused about personal and prejudicial interests and predisposition. This might help:
https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/members-interests-bias-an-533.pdf

But this is the problem with “social enterprises”, “joint working” and “contractual obligations” – so many grey areas where things can go wrong or be misinterpreted.

Reply from EDDC Leader Ben Ingham on previous post

Councillor Ben Ingham, Leader of EDDC and the Independent Grouphas responded to the article below. He responded in red print, which Owl cannot reproduce, so his comnents are in BOLD and a

LARGER FONT

One of the reasons so many Independent councillors were elected was because they were not Tories! People had become sick of the way the district had been run for the last 45 years and demanded change. Part of that change was to see exactly what Tories had been up to in those 45 years when transparency was in short supply.

So, on 3 May, we were presented with:

31 Independents
(20 mostly eastern-based/central-based Independents,

(8 from Exmouth & Budleigh area – west)

11 mostly western-based Independent East Devon Alliance)

(Central and eastern)

19 Tories
8 Lib Dems
2 Greens

An alliance of Independents, Lib Dems and Greens would have produced 41 non-Tories – easily outnumbering 19 Tories.

36 would have been a workable maximum. Some were mutually exclusive.

What we now know happened is that eastern-based Independents (Leader Ben Ingham, Exmouth) refused to work with East Devon Alliance.

The EDA wanted to implement a Leadership Board of 6 at the annual meeting 22nd May, which was considered by the Independents as unnecessary, unworkable and definitely unconstitutional.

We assume that Lib Dems (who agreed to work with an Independent majority, but not form a coalition with them), were similarly excluded by Mr Ingham from working with his group.

The Lib Dems refused to join the cabinet or take up any part if the administration. They turned down Lead positions as well.

Instead, Mr Ingham chose to work with the 19 Tories, an ex-Tory (former Tory Leader Ian Thomas) and several so-called Independent councillors whose late-onset Independent roots had never been obvious or put to the test. He gave the job of Chairman of the Council to Stuart Hughes.

The Tories are not in our Cabinet whatsoever. They hold the Chair because we felt we needed an experienced Chair to make sure Full Council is run properly. This is a civic appointment only.

a Cabinet post to Ian Thomas, one of the jobs representing EDDC at Greater Exeter Strategic Plan meetings to Tory Philip Skinner.

that is not a GESP appointment. His influence iinsignificant (sic) or he would not be there.

and several other posts to other Tory councillors.

The outside bodies and panels are as they describe, not within the core team of the council

Owl has no idea what the two Green (Exmouth-based) councillors think of this arrangement.

They too were invited to join the cabinet or take Chairs/vice chairs. They declined everything until they are better acquainted with the Council’s functions, which is understandable.

Despite this, CEO Mark Williams presumably decided that there were NOT 31 Independents, but two kinds of totally different Independents (Independent Group, EDA).

Very foolishly, it was EDA who created the second group, without any consultation. Their leader insisted this was necessary to get the correct seat allocation. For the four previous years we were one group. EDA opted out with no discussion, therefore making the Tories the biggest group! The Independent group of 15 immediately worked to stop this by inviting the other 5 to join them, there was no choice. Otherwise the Tories would have challenged for leadership of EDDC as the largest group!

and declared Tories as the “official opposition” –

Fortunately the Independents did increase to 20, and stopped that happening, no thanks to the EDA!

in spite of them holding Cabinet and other posts.

No Tories in Cabinet

Is this constitutionally correct? How does one decide? One asks the CEO – dead end there, then!

This has led to a Tory (“official opposition”) Alan Dent, being the head of the Scrutiny Committee – the only committee that now has wide investigative powers.

The main opposition select the Chair of Scrutiny, just like we selected Roger Giles 4 years ago

The Chair of this committee can say Yes or No to requests for scrutiny of any subject – his word is the only word on what goes on an agenda (as long as the CEO agrees, of course).

So, is there any chance of the Scrutiny Committee holding the previous Tory administration to account? No, zero, zilch, nada in Owl’s view.

Your opinion, no evidence

So those Tory bodies – lying quietly tucked away for the last 45 years are almost certain to continue enjoying their slumbers.

Your opinion, no evidence

And all because some Independents can’t or won’t work with other Independents and local Lib Dems are keeping themselves well apart where, in other areas, coalitions of Independents, Greens and Lib Dems is promising real change in formerly true-blue districts.

Unfortunately the EDA leadership ruled EDA out by insisting on a leadership board and splitting the Independent Group in two. We were left on our own. The new 5 Independents would not work with the EDA.

What is so ironic about this whole story is that, in his political career, Ben Ingham has been a Tory councillor, an Independent Councillor and Leader of the East Devon Alliance!!!

And you were a die-hard socialist, but claim now to be an independent? All things must pass.

Pitiful and shameful.

REAL independence in politics – when ALL independents are in one group

“… As with all the independents I meet, they insist that orthodox party divides have no relevance to politics at the most local level. “If you look at our 16 candidates, we have got leftwing people and we have got a supporter of the Brexit party,” says another DIG councillor, Ged Yardy. “We have not been elected on the basis of our previous politics. Party politics is not in the room.”.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/12/how-to-take-over-your-town-the-inside-story-of-a-local-revolution?

BUT party politics IS in the room when, as in East Devon, Independents from one group appoint Conservatives into positions of power and/or influence in order to give that pairing a majority rather than appointing other independents whose origins differed from theirs.

The new council at EDDC – “Independent Group” stitches up Independent East Devon Alliance, opting for cosy relationship with old-style Tories!!!

No representation at all for East Devon Alliance members, except Val Ranger for symbolic appountment as Deputy Chairman. Lib Dems totally excluded too.

Stuart Hughes (Tory) voted in as new Chairman – unopposed and nominated by Independent Ben Ingham and seconded by Tory Phil Twiss!

Says it all really …

Vice-Chairman Val Ranger – EDA

New Leader – Ben Ingham – Independent Group, Exmouth

New deputy leader – Susie Bond – Independent Group, Feniton

Committee chairmen:

Overview – Nick Hookway – Independent Group, Exmouth
Scrutiny – Alan Dent – Tory, Budleigh
Housing Review Board – Tony McCollum – Independent Group, Honiton
Strategic Planning Committee – Susie Bond – Independent Group, Feniton
Development Management Committee – Mike Howe – Tory, Clyst Valley
Audit and Governance – Sam Hawkins, IndeGroyp, Cranbrook
Standards – Stuart Hughes – Tory, Sidmouth Sidford
Interviewing (chief officers) – Ben Ingham, Independent Group, Exmouth
Employment Appeals – Susie Bond – Independent Group, Feniton
Licensing and Enforcement – Paul Jarvis – Independent Group, Budleigh

So, first day – sold out.

Owl knew it had to keep an eye on this lot …

A bad, bad day for East Devon.