The recent referendum on elected mayors and the increase in Labour’s
majority have led to a debate about “single party” government. Labour now
hold nearly three quarters of the 84 seats on the council. As one of the
two opposition parties, we believe we have an important role to play in
holding them to account, putting forward our alternatives to unfair cuts and
privatisation and standing up for our constituents and local communities.
Two arenas for doing so are the seven Community Assemblies and five Scrutiny
Committees (which are like the cross-party select committees in
Westminster). Until now, a proportion of these bodies were chaired by
opposition councillors, providing some balance. We were therefore
disappointed that, at the Full Council AGM following the city council
elections, Labour did not give a single scrutiny board chair to a member of
Are Labour so sure they represent the whole city and every shade of opinion
within it that they can safely stifle opposition in this way? Do they not
value ideas from across the widest possible spectrum of elected politicians?
Of course the leader and single-party cabinet can ultimately turn down
proposals they disagree with, but would it not make for stronger government
to respect the role of the opposition?
Cllr Jillian Creasy, Green Party