On May 2nd, every council seat at Crawley Borough Council was elected in a one-off whole council election following a boundary review. The overall size of the council changed from 37 to 36 councillors. The previous council was 20 Labour 17 Conservative, and following the election where both main parties received 47% of the Crawley-wide vote each, it is now 19 Labour and 17 Conservative, a very finely balanced Council.
Last week the Annual Council Meeting of Crawley Borough Council took place where putting it bluntly, every Labour Councillor behaved like Crawley is a one-party state. This meeting determined the Mayor and Deputy, the Council Leader and Cabinet, Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs, as well as representatives on outside organisations.
This meeting was an appalling spectacle. As Labour go into their sixth year of having a very narrow majority on the Council, they have refused every year to give consideration to having either a Mayor or Deputy Mayor from outside their own party. This is in stark contrast to when we Conservatives had a majority on the Council, when we had a Labour Deputy Mayor in our first year. What we end up with is that rather than have a more qualified and experienced Conservative councillor, Labour keep having a Deputy Mayor who has only been a councillor for one year who then goes on to be Mayor. It really is absurd and makes a mockery of the role.
The Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs appointments are even worse as this can have real consequences for the Council and residents when inexperienced, and in some cases brand new councillors, are given positions of responsibility just because they are supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. The Planning Committee seriously concerns me, which will now be chaired by a councillor of just one year’s experience who barely said a word over the last year while a committee member, and with a vice-chairman who is a brand new councillor with no experience whatsoever. In seizing all these roles every year, Crawley’s Labour councillors keep demonstrating that they don’t believe in fairness. Their party always comes before Crawley.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
29th May 2019