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Last week, it was suddenly announced that the Cabinet meeting scheduled for Tuesday, 16th January 2018 has been cancelled.

The official reason given is that ‘Our scheduling of forthcoming business for Cabinet has enabled us to cancel the proposed formal meeting...’

What this means is that Councillors who submitted motions on the agenda for the Council meeting last December, will now have to wait until the second half of February at the earliest for a response.

Why is this? Is the cabinet having an extended Christmas break, or are they hiding away from public scrutiny of the ongoing chaotic shambles that is result of the vacillating and partisan political leadership at Cheshire East?

At the last Council meeting the Conservatives denied that the new Council Constitution would be used to conduct more business in private, yet here we have a Cabinet meeting being cancelled because they say there is no need to discuss any business in public. So much for openness and transparency at Cheshire East Council!

Cllr Joy Bratherton, Labour Councillor for Crewe East said; ‘Why are they hiding? They have already refused to apologise for the chaotic situation they have created at the Council, now they will not even face other Councillors or the residents of Cheshire East to account for themselves!’

Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor of Sandbach Heath & East, said, “The Conservatives may have run out of ideas and do not have any proposals that they wish to discuss publicly this month, but the Labour Group have tabled several formal motions that could have been discussed at this cancelled meeting. Labour motions waiting to be discussed at Cabinet include:

  • Ensuring that Cheshire East has a robust 5-year housing land supply so as to stop speculative housing developments.
  • Addressing climate change
  • Highway maintenance
  • Publishing the ‘viability assessments’ that developers use to avoid providing affordable housing.

It seems that the Conservatives don’t think any of these issues are important or urgent. Whilst many would like answers to these questions, we will now have to wait until 16th February 2018 at the earliest.’

Running scared or ‘no business here!’ Why has the Cheshire East Cabinet cancelled its January 2018 Meeting?

Last week, it was suddenly announced that the Cabinet meeting scheduled for Tuesday, 16th January 2018 has been cancelled. The official reason given is that ‘Our scheduling of forthcoming business...

We have just seen the annual Christmas and New Year meetings of various ‘hunts’ across Cheshire East, along with the footage of the associated havoc and inconvenience to many residents

Labour ended fox hunting, deer hunting and hare coursing. Yet the Prime Minister, in the face of overwhelming public support to retain the bans has publically given her support to those lobbying for a return to such barbaric practices. Only a Labour government will maintain the bans.

The latest concerns follow only a few months after a hunt ran amok on the outskirts of Macclesfield and footage was shown on the regional news programmes. After that incident Labour Councillor Nick Mannion was able to secure a commitment from the Council Portfolio Holder for Rural Issues that no hunts are permitted to cross council owned land or farms.

The Hunting with Dogs legislation urgently requires strengthening to give the police stronger power and the courts greater sentencing powers to punish the minority of  hunts and their so called ‘followers’ that so flagrantly flout it. 

Labour’s vision is for the UK to lead the world with high animal welfare standards in the wild, in farming and for domestic animals. Labour will increase the maximum sentence for those convicted of committing animal cruelty. We will promote cruelty-free animal husbandry and consult on ways to ensure better enforcement of agreed standards.

We will prohibit the third-party sale of puppies, introduce and enforce a total ban on ivory trading, and support the ban on wild animals in circuses.

We will cease the badger cull, which spreads bovine TB.

Cllr Steve Hogben, Labour Councillor for Crewe South said; ‘Fox hunting is a barbaric relic from medieval times, and belongs to another age. It is high time those that cling to such outdated and illegal activity should have to account for their actions’

Cllr Laura Jeuda, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield South said ‘The UK’s impending departure from the European Union has already triggered a range of challenges from multi-national agri-business corporations that fund the Tory party in Government. They are already lobbying for the relaxation or removal of several hard-won agriculture and animal welfare regulations that have been tenaciously built-up over recent years. We must not relax our guard!!

Traditional Christmas and New Year hunts rampage across Cheshire East.

We have just seen the annual Christmas and New Year meetings of various ‘hunts’ across Cheshire East, along with the footage of the associated havoc and inconvenience to many residents...

At the Cheshire East Council meeting on 14 December a qualified trading standards officer, formerly employed by the Council, used public speaking time to raise concerns about the terms of reference of the recently completed cultural review of the Council by the Local Government association (‘LGA’)

The terms of reference prevented anyone who had left the Council more than 6 months ago from giving evidence. Rob Edwardson said that he had wanted to give evidence to the cultural review but was refused because he left the Council just over 6 months ago. Several other significant witnesses were also prevented from giving evidence including the former Head of Internal Audit at the Council.

Labour Councillors have also expressed their concerns about the handling of bullying allegations, including criticism of the Chair of the Council’s Staffing Committee, who knew about an incident when a Council employee held a knife to their throat at work and shouted “Is this what you want …” and named the person who was allegedly bullying them. Despite knowing about the incident when Labour councillors were raising concerns about bullying, the Chair of the Staffing Committee did not share this information with other members of the committee and does not appear to have taken any meaningful action.

At the Council meeting Cllr Brian Roberts asked,

“At the end of the Staffing Committee meeting on 26 October, the Chair made a statement denying that he sat on issues of bullying and covered up a serious incident involving knife. Could the Leader clarify when she became aware of the knife incident and given that she has said that the incident is outside the terms of reference of the Staffing Committee could she clarify what the Chair of the Staffing Committee did about the knife incident (if he didn’t cover it up) and if he didn’t sit on issues of bullying could she clarify what he did do?”

In response the Conservative Leader said that she would be willing to discuss the matter later.

Janet Jackson, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield Central, then asked,

“Would the Leader like to join me in thanking Sarah Messenger for conducting a review into the culture of the Council and allegations of bullying and given that the Chair of the Staffing Committee is minuted as quoting the Leader publicly revealing the location of one particularly shocking incident, could she state where the quote is from and would she acknowledge that many staff are fearful of coming forward with allegations of bullying for fear that details of their situations will also be made public.”

In response, the Conservative Leader said that she had made a public statement on the location of the incident, but didn’t say when she had made the statement, and added that as council staff moved around she didn’t think that revealing the location of the incident was significant.

However, at least one local newspaper has publicly stated that they will not publish the location of the incident because it increases the likelihood of identifying the individuals involved.

Councillor Steve Hogben, Labour Councillor for Crewe South said; ‘’The LGA review is seen by some staff as a sham, and I am not surprised given the very public rejection of certain potentially unfavourable evidence by the council and by Ms Messenger. The six month rule has all the signs of a deliberate cover-up by the dictatorial regime at Westfields.’’

Bullying Cover-Up

At the Cheshire East Council meeting on 14 December a qualified trading standards officer, formerly employed by the Council, used public speaking time to raise concerns about the terms of...

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