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New Bingham Town Council leadership, same old concerns

Controversy immediately followed the appointment of a new mayor on a town council.

Andrew Shelton was elected Bingham Town Mayor on a majority vote and one of his first acts was to preside over a debate brought about by his newly-appointed deputy, Francis Purdue-Horan.

Newly-elected mayor for Bingham Andrew Shelton.
Newly-elected mayor for Bingham Andrew Shelton.

Mr Purdue-Horan proposed last-minute amendments to the agenda and attempted to pass them en bloc, but was prevented from doing so by Liberal Democrat John Lewis.

The changes mean, going forward, committees will make final decisions on matters — rather than going to full council where every elected individual can have a say.

This caused serious concern for opposition councillors, not least because their representation would be far less than the Tories — who have the majority of members — but because several committees had been downgraded to sub-ones.

Newly-elected deputy for Bingham Francis Purdue-Horan.
Newly-elected deputy for Bingham Francis Purdue-Horan.

The human resources, community and environment, and recreation and amenities committees will therefore be answerable to policy and resources, which would be controlled by Conservatives.

Mr Purdue-Horan told the meeting: “Principle authorities have a need to be balanced, parishes don’t.”

Responding, Labour’s Tony Wallace said: “I thought under a new council we would turn a corner, but what I’m hearing tonight is the same old, tiresomely familiar, lack of respect and consideration and lack of desire to work with councillors who are not members of the Conservative Group.

“Mr Purdue-Horan didn’t send the amendments to everyone, he didn’t sent them to me — I had them sent by the town clerk, and this isn’t the first time it’s happened.

Tony Wallace of Labour.
Tony Wallace of Labour.

“His proposals stop the debate in front of the public about the way the council is administering itself. It’s not good for democracy, it’s not good for Bingham and it’s not good for the people of Bingham.

“I’m sorely disappointed I’m here yet again, making the same speech.”

Despite the opposition, the plans for a change in decision making were carried.

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