Conservative-controlled council elects Conservative to lead committee to scrutinise their work (updated)

The Scrutiny Committee is designed to examine decisions made by Isle of Wight council. It has, for as long as we can remember, been chaired by an opposition councillor … until last night

richard hollis shaking hands with nick stuart at the election count

Isle of Wight Conservative councillor, Cllr Richard Hollis, has been elected as the next chairperson of the Corporate Scrutiny Committee – the group of councillors whose role it is to scrutinise policy decisions and actions of the Conservative administration.

Cllr Hollis was nominated by Conservative leader of the Isle of Wight council, Dave Stewart. Also nominated but failing to receive enough votes was Cllr Karl Love (Ind) was nominated by Cllr Geoff Brodie (Ind Labour) and Cllr Michael Lilley (Ind Green) who is the current Vice Chairperson and was nominated by Cllr Debbie Andre (Island Ind).

Love: A step backwards for democracy
Following the meeting, the councillor for East Cowes, Karl Love, said he believed it was a step backwards for democracy.

He told News OnTheWight,

“Last night’s election of Cllr Hollis to the Chair of Corporate Scrutiny was a step backwards for democracy.  

“I have lost confidence in the scrutiny leadership and its intended purpose, which is to dive deeply and searchingly into the political workings, decisions and issues of good governance.”

Brodie: Lack of public credibility
Cllr Geoff Brodie told News OnTheWight it was the first time in his 15 years as councillor that a ruling group has taken the Scrutiny Chair.

He added, 

“As a former policeman, Cllr Stewart should know all about the lack of public credibility when police complaints were investigated internally.

“I consider this to be similar.”

According to an insider there have been a flurry of emails whizzing around County Hall following the meeting, with a great deal of unhappiness being expressed about this move by the Conservative group.

Andre: Brings into serious doubt their commitment to residents
This afternoon Cllr Debbie Andre told News OnTheWight,

“Previously we had reverse proportionality on Scrutiny. Firstly the administration voted through a change so we no longer have that. Now they have seen fit to put in a Chair from the administration.

“It does bring into serious question how effective will Scrutiny be?”

She went on to add,

“At the end of the day the Conservatives are a national political party and have a line to follow.

“It’s almost like putting themselves in control of both challenging and being a critical friend to policy and decision making at the highest levels, does bring into serious doubt their commitment to the residents of the Island.”

Love: Boycott the committee
Cllr Love suggested a boycott by councillors,

“I see no point in any political participation to scrutiny which only adds credibility to the sham of giving the elusion of democracy.  I suggest a boycott of opposition members. 

“The only way to change things now is through the ballot box in May next year.”

Andre: We must continue to be actively involved in Scrutiny
In response to the suggesting of a boycott, Cllr Andre told News OnTheWight,

“I can categorically state that following a group meeting this morning it was unanimous decision of the Island Independent Group that in order to represent our residents to the best of our ability, not only do we need to continue to be actively involved at Corporate Scrutiny, but we will also be putting forward a nomination for vice chair.”

Hollis: I feel most honoured
News OnTheWight contacted Cllr Hollis for his response to the disquiet about someone from the same party as the ruling group being head of Scrutiny.

He told News OnTheWight,

“I was elected as Chairman. A Chairman should be able to put politics aside and be absolutely impartial.

“I have much experience with that scenario at both Richmond and Twickenham Council and the IOW Council as Chairman of Planning.

“This is no difference in that respect to be chosen as Chairman of the Corporate Scrutiny Committee and I feel most honoured.”

Article edit
6pm 17th Sep 2020 – Statement from Cllr Hollis added

Thursday, 17th September, 2020 4:42pm

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2nW4

Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Newport, Politics, Top story

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24 Comments on "Conservative-controlled council elects Conservative to lead committee to scrutinise their work (updated)"

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Rupert Besley

Outrageous – and sickening.

Thanks for your report on this.

lardi

So the fox is now advising on the security of the Chichen run.

lardi

…and even the Chicken run, but he is an impartial fox

Phil Jordan
The DCLG guidance for councils is that scrutiny should be “impartial” … establishing the good practice of impartial councillors and an impartial ‘corporate’ chair of scrutiny. The received protocol fairly widely followed by councils around the UK is that you do not elect a majority of councillors and a Chair from the ruling group onto a scrutiny committee. Thus it was for the Island also. It ensures… Read more »
Geoff Brodie

“After the Conservatives are elected out of office.” If only Phil, but until your sleeping colleagues in the main Council opposition group or the local Labour delusionists get real there is little chance of that.

Fenders

Haha haha, you’re kidding me.

We’ve got to vote all these Tory jokers out in the forthcoming Council Elections

Eagle eye

You have to ask, what are they frightened of? What don’t they want residents to know? Anything to do with house building on the island?

lauque

Following the lead of the national party, which has made clear what it thinks of standards and precedent.

newman

Yes, the Tory party is corrupt from top to bottom.

stillaspiring

Thank you very much for this report. How can this decision be challenged?

Colin

BennyC must be away so I will say it for him.

“Male, pale and stale.”

DH
T his is concerning but I’m not surprised. As a Parkhurst resident, many were relived when this councillor was voted out but I understand he was voted back into another ward. He provided little support during his tenure for his original ward, one the reasons he was voted out, and during his re-election campaign he pushed a number of false truths. For instance, where is the parking… Read more »
Benny C
Sounds alarming. But, equally, others who repeatedly use any means to make random and sometimes suspect political points aren’t necessarily right for the role either. This is about standards and governance, not politics. Give it 6 months. He has a good track record at Richmond, check it out. If he means what he says we will get much better meetings, it could be what we’ve been asking… Read more »
garyeldridge

The ‘outrage’ and nashing of teeth is all very laudable and certainly such an appointment indicates a complete lack of intelligence, however, anyone who believes that any other political party would not act in similar corrupt fashion, is utterly delusional.

newman

Splendid whataboutism there.

Rupert Besley
Your claim here is not supported by any evidence that I can see (and I’m not, as you describe me, utterly delusional). Other groupings have not breached County Hall conventions in this way that I’m aware of. Nor have other governments chosen to break international law (internal markets bill), to lie to the Queen (proroguing Parliament), to blame and fire others for major cock-ups (exams fiasco) instead… Read more »
Phil Jordan

Gary:

Fact Check.

The Independents (agreed, not a political party) between 2013 and 2017 had both a non Independent (ruling) group Chair of Scrutiny and they had a majority of non Independent group members on Scrutiny. Reverse proportionality.

But don’t let the facts get in the way of accuracy or being delusional.

Geoff Brodie

Correct Phil. I was one and Dave Stewart succeeded me after 18 months. I certainly did not face the interference that Cllrs Fuller and Garratt have apparently endured from Cllr Stewart (as leader) and the CX. And the meetings weren’t packed with officers protecting leading councillors. Cabinet members were held to account; not applauded as they have been in recent times. And the public came along…….

Phil Jordan
I remember it well geoff! Frankly, I can see little reason under this aberration of a system for non conservative councillors to even bother sitting on the committee. It’s a sham of a system and it really does fly in the face of DCLG guidance that the scrutiny committees should be “impartial”. And let’s not forget, Cllr Hollis was the councillor responsible for the change from reverse… Read more »
ian123

Labour certainly has form on this. Where I used to live, in opposition Labour several times formally proposed that scrutiny must be opposition-led. Yet, when they took control of the council, every Labour councillor voted down a motion that was identically worded to the one they themselves had put forward when in opposition.

Geoff Brodie

Not sure what this has to do with here. Labour currently have no councillors and are never going to take control.

Benny C

I think it’s about ‘you’re all as bad as each other’. Most folk in the real world think that, which is why local politics has such a terrible reputation. You get what you give!

Rupert Besley
It seems to me legitimate to point out a specific instance of another party making the same mistake on this issue. What isn’t right (and is therefore in the long run damaging to all of us) is then to arrive at a blanket assertion that all politicians are corrupt and all as bad as each other. That is an expression of prejudice, encouraging a public attitude to… Read more »
ian123

Did you not read any further up the thread?