West Lancashire Borough Council Tories walk out of Council meeting 22nd July 2015


It has been reported from the Full Council (public) meeting at West Lancashire Borough Council last night (22nd July 2015) that, rather than vote upon a motion, all Tory Councillors left the chamber!  Their unfortunate constituents will be interested that their elected representatives collectively hid behind the sham of “pre-determination”, AGAIN!

The motion was:

“That this Council congratulates and fully supports Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee’s recent decisions to refute the Applications to Frack in Lancashire thereby sending out to the wider Country the message that Local Democracy is still alive and well in Lancashire and that the people of our County will not be cowed by central Government interference or Corporate pressure.”

It begs the question that, if they always refuse outright to represent their constituents on matters such as building housing on green belt and fracking quoting “pre-determination” (rubbish!), why do we bother to elect a Borough Councillor?  Doreen Stephenson is our Borough Councillor, and we have confirmation that she attended the meeting and she walked out for this motion.  Actually, she did not return for the final Agenda motion either!

Our County Councillor, David O’Toole, has also used “pre-determination” as a reason why he cannot help our communities at County Level (or Borough level!) and we have that in writing!

Councillor John Hodson’s speech to motion:

1. The recent attempts to undermine and circumvent the Planning process in Lancashire by HM Government can only be condemned for the grubby bullyboy tactics they are. George Osborne’s leaked letter of 24th Sept. 2014 in The Guardian provides the irrefutable proof of how this Government will bend the rules in order to give advantage to business friends and supporters of the Conservative Party.

2. The Guardian should be applauded for shedding light on what can only be considered as a determined attempt to interfere with the Quasi-judicial process of Planning at County level. It is clear from the contents of the letter that ‘special treatment’ for Cuadrilla is being requested by the HM Treasury in order to give favorable conditions to this awful unwanted, ill considered industry which Osborne’s father in law wants to impose on the ‘desolate North’ whether we want it or not. Actions which would shame a banana Republic.

3. Example: (quote from leaked letter) 2. “Be prepared for the risk that permission is turned down or progress injuncted” and a) “Consider whether to provide additional technical support to Lancashire to help determine current Planning applications”

Direst evidence of interference.

4. This makes a sheer mockery of David Cameron’s much-vaunted claim to recognize local democracy, while the Government moves as we speak to take decision-making even further away from Local Authorities back to central Government.

Many members of Parliament and indeed Councillors, some belonging to West Lancs, further compound this outrage by stating that in their personal opinion, Fracking should go ahead, but not in their own particular constituency or Borough. One of them should be in this chamber for this debate but has left tonight, hiding behind the excuse of pre-determination: Cllr. Westley no less.

5. I personally cannot wait until they start to try and frack in some of the Southern Constituencies and County’s to see how much their own voters share their enthusiasm for it to ‘happen elsewhere’!

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