Nov 15 2013

Independent Labour ‘Protest at the use of Public Funds’

ilg_rose4Press release from Independent Labour:

There is no justification in using considerable public funds £30k to support large political parties and undermine independent Councillors and small political parties. As Tolstoy said, wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.

The Independent Labour administration would never have authorised such expenditure, if asked. A significant number of lawyers are employed by the Council, surely they could have found some alternative, in-house, legal expertise while the investigation was carried out, rather than spending a large sum of Tax Payers’ money in pursuing a political agenda. The question is who authorised the decision to spend £30k to defend a decision which is clearly contentious to say the least

Independent Labour stands by it press release of 12 September about upholding the constitution and the rule of law. In the lead up to 16 September Council meeting, it was clear that Director of Legal Services was taking a clearly political position. When Independent Labour complained about the position taken by the Director of Legal Services, the Council could have instigated an independent investigation immediately and provided an alternative, in-house, legal adviser until the matter was resolved – there was absolutely no need to spend £30,000 of tax payers’ money. The Leader and Portfolio Holder at the time, Cllr Idaikkadar, was never consulted and never authorised such expenditure.

The Constitution is very clear about interpretation and the Mayor was following the constitution. It is the Mayor’s role to defend the Constitution. Officers used Tax Payers’ money to undermine the Constitution and the Mayor. A Member of Council felt that the behaviour highlighted institutional racism within the Council and called for an independent investigation.

Independent Labour Group has nothing to apologise for and in fact are owed an apology from the Council for its breach of the Public Sector Equality Duty owed to all Councillors.

The Mayor has formally complained again about Institutional Racism and the Council has finally conceded that there is an issue that needs to be addressed by announcing an Independent Investigation into Institutional Racism.

What is even more astonishing is that even after spending this amount of money, the outcome is still clearly disputed and legally unresolved. On 24 October, the last special Council meeting which was called to discuss undermining the Council’s constitution, it was clear that this matter will only be resolved by a judicial review as there are differing legal opinions.

Three legally trained Councillors from different political parties agree that this can only be resolved by a judge. It is unacceptable that the Council should use Tax payer’s money to undermine Councillors who have been elected by residents.

It is evident from statement made by Members of the Council that the advice received by the Council and the position taken is contentious and does not resolve the critical issue at hand.

Independent Labour calls for a Judicial Review of the 16 September Extraordinary Council meeting.

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