The independent Isle of Wight councillor for East Cowes, Karl Love has spoken out after being effectively ‘booted off’ the Health & Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee to be replaced with, a yet unknown, Conservative councillor.
Cllr Love said when he joined the Health & Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee that the Leader of the Isle of Wight council, Cllr Dave Stewart, was “positively glowing and encouraging” of his participation, adding what a strength his 30 years of community, health education and NHS work would bring to the committee.
However, this week that position appears to have changed as Cllr Love tells OnTheWight,
“It seems to me that if you question and scrutinise the Conservatives’ actions, they’ll do what they can to silence you.”
Leader: “Temporary membership withdrawn”
Despite working in the same building and being easily contactable by telephone, Cllr Stewart instead decided to inform Cllr Love he no longer had a seat on the Scrutiny Committee by email.
“This e mail is to inform you that I have now filled all conservative positions on the Health & Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee. On that basis your temporary membership of that committee occupying a conservative seat is now withdrawn.”
Cllr Love said the leader had never stated his participation would be on a temporary basis or that he was simply filling the position until the leader found someone from within his own party.
Love: “Tribal party politics”
The East Cowes councillor says he believes the actions of Cllr Stewart appear “to be entirely based on outdated tribal party politics, which puts the needs of the party before that of the people one claims to represent”.
In an email to the leader (seen by OnTheWight), Cllr Love replied,
“I’m sad and feel hurt that you would take this action without any discussion and indicating of it occurring and without any communication with myself.
“I am incredibly disappointed to be snubbed and dumped from this committee without so much as a discussion and especially as there is no such thing recorded as occupation of a temporary member seat on a committee.”
Only member with significant experience
Cllr Love states in his email to Cllr Stewart that he was the only significantly-experienced member of the Committee who had worked within the NHS and Public Health community and mainstream education sector.
He says that despite his in-depth knowledge of the NHS, Public Health and Education teams, he will be replaced by a Conservative councillor, who the leader has not “even had the decency” to inform him about to his face or explain the skill set they’ll bring to the table.
Cllr Love replied to the leader,
“If this was a paid job, I would be suing for constructive dismissal because your action is not in the public interests and is based solely on tribal outdated party politics.
“How do your actions as a ‘Leader’ best serve the greater public interest when we are now almost halfway through the political term where there are complicated health issues? Surely you cannot think that you will dampen my voice and that of others when challenging political policies?”
Health and social care his life’s work
Cllr Love says his life’s work is about community issue based learning on subjects such as drugs and alcohol, inclusion, diversity, sexual health, suicide and mental health, young people and community well-being.
He says he’ll continue to attend all the meetings of Health & Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee and other health-related meetings and will now double his attention to the work of the scrutiny committees.
He finished by saying,
“Removing me from Health & Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee I feel even more determined to use my experience to do something positive for our Island community by ensuring transparency and scrutinising the contributions of members and report this publicly.
“I have very much enjoyed contributing to the committee and wish all ASC Members well in their administration duties.”
Health & Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee
The committee has met five times this year, with the next meeting scheduled for 14th January 2019 – one month before the annual budget meeting, where cuts are expected in all areas of the council.
Others on the committee include:
Cllr John Nicholson (Chairman) (Con)
Cllr Geoff Brodie (Ind Lab)
Cllr George Cameron (Con)
Cllr Rodney David Downer (Ind)
Cllr Stephen Hastings (Con)
Mr John Frederick Howe (Ind)
OnTheWight has written to Cllr Stewart asking him to explain why Cllr Love has been removed from the committee and who will fill the vacancy.