CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Council chiefs face anger over cancelled meeting

Labour accused of dodging scrutiny in Camden

09 July, 2021 — By Richard Osley

Conservative leader Oliver Cooper says not enough was done to ensure Camden held a full council meeting to scrutinise the Labour regime’s policies

THE Town Hall is under fire for cancelling its full council meeting while other local authorities have managed to hold them.

Leader of the opposition, Conservative councillor Oliver Cooper has written to Borough Solicitor Andrew Maughan claiming constitutional rules which say he should have been consulted had not been followed.

Instead, he said Labour council chiefs had taken the decision to axe the meeting scheduled for Monday evening was taken unilaterally.

Cllr Cooper has already said that he believed the decision had been motivated by politics and a fear of scrutiny before a council by-election in Fortune Green later this month.

He said the lifting of government coronavirus rules planned for July 19 should mean that a meeting is organised sooner than September.

Camden has cited Covid restrictions and say the council chamber cannot safely hold an all member meeting.

But Cllr Cooper said: “Most councils have held meetings in person in either other council facilities, schools, or hired venues – use of most of which have been given to their respective councils for free,” he said.

“Meanwhile others – such as Croydon and Greenwich, as well as Westminster – scaled down attendance pro rata.”

The Lib Dems are also railing against the cancellation.

In a letter to the New Journal, its group said: “If Camden Labour wanted to hold a meeting, they could. What efforts were made to approach the many fantastic, spacious venues across Camden to ask them to accommodate us? The truth is this Labour administration does not want to be held to account.”

A council spokesperson said last week that Camden would still host the same number of meetings as it would do normally – and next week’s meeting had been postponed until a time when it could be conducted safely.

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