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Public debate call over cabinet system

August 19, 2008 10:00 PM

A special public meeting for residents who want to debate and question councillors on the new Cabinet style system the Conservative administration is proposing for Brentwood, should be arranged by Brentwood Borough council, says Liberal Democrat leader Cllr David Kendall.

His suggested format for the meeting would feature the three party leaders putting their differing views on the cabinet style system and answering residents' questions. He would also see the meeting Chaired by a senior Council officer who would give a non-partisan overview of the choices available and answer questions on the consultation process.

Cllr Kendall said:

"The fundamental issue is whether the Cabinet system of local government is right for Brentwood. Residents should be given the opportunity to hear these views and question the party leaders on this very important issue before a final decision is made. The timetable for the cabinet consultation, that was due to start in July, is already starting to slip and I am concerned that the whole process is now going to be rushed through to meet unrealistic deadlines set by the administration.

"Make no mistake: local democracy is under threat like never before, with the Conservatives wanting to introduce a system that would put even more power into the hands of a small clique of councillors. In contrast, the Liberal Democrats want to maintain the current system of local government in Brentwood that allows members from all parties to engage in open debate across all the panels and committees".

Cllr Kendall's call for a meeting has already been welcomed by the Labour leader Cllr Mike Le Surf, but Council leader Brandon Lewis doesn't seem enthusiastic about discussing his party's proposals directly with the public.