Havering has had three Independent councillors who were prevented from fulfilling their responsibilities to their electorates. Independent councillors are banned from Overview and Scrutiny committee places. They can only attend council meetings. Overview and Scrutiny committees are pivotal to good governance.1 The Council debate on 20th January 20212 discussed the political balance of the committees but ignored the excluded Independent councillors
The three became Independent councillors in different ways.
Bob Perry (Emerson Park)
Bob was (is?) disgusted by the leadership of the Conservative group. His disenchantment led to a covert recording of a group meeting. At that group meeting Damian White was heard to say words to the effect that he’d had undue influence on forthcoming boundary changes.3 Bob left the Conservative group and is now an Independent.
Jan Sargent (Gooshays)
Gooshays elected Jan as an Independent councillor knowingly rejecting the alternatives. What the electorate didn’t know was that Jan, and they, would be disrespected. Jan has got sick of being ignored and has joined the Harold Wood Three. Alternatively she might have been attracted to the rich rewards that they’ve accrued from propping up the Administration. Maybe she thought it was a good career move. Who knows?
Melvin Wallace (Squirrels Heath)
Melvin became an Independent after an indiscretion.4Maybe Melvin should have resigned but he didn’t. Perhaps he likes doing nothing but he shouldn’t be forced to do nothing.
This undemocratic situation can’t continue. Let’s imagine that all three were black. What would the media make of that?
1 See Havering’s Conservatives Defy the Government’s Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny Committees – Politics in Havering Don’t forget the Harold Wood Three have been richly rewarded for propping up the Conservative Administration since 2018.
2 Go to 50 minutes the debate lasts 16 minutes Annotator Player (sonicfoundry.com)