TORY councillors in East Staffordshire have been told to ‘put up and shut up’ after voicing fears over the fate of democracy in the borough.
The new Labour-Independent leadership hit back at claims that their actions to oust the former administration were ‘undemocratic’ and ‘ignorant’, telling councillors they should simply ‘get over it; live with it’.
The issue was raised at last night’s meeting of the full East Staffordshire Borough Council, when former leader Councillor Richard Grosvenor spoke against the so-called Tory Rebels, who resigned the Conservative whip last year, and joined with Labour to challenge leadership last month.
Councillor Grosvenor said: “We have seen residents flabbergasted at the democratic deficiency this council has shown.
“As a council, if we do not recognise the democratic control of the electorate, or ignore residents’ concerns, we are at very grave risk of disenfranchising residents at a time when they are falling out with politics.
“We need to recognise residents’ democratic control, not members. This has said to residents that you can vote whatever way you want, because we will do what we want, because we can.”
The councillor, and other members of the Tory group have previously complained of the self-serving nature of the ‘gang of four’, claiming they only joined with Labour so two of them could get cabinet positions, which they now have. Council leader Julian Mott denies this motivation.
Councillor Dennis Fletcher, who brought the initial motion to overthrow Councillor Grosvenor and his group, said: “Nobody has come to me criticising my party for what we did. This happened all the time in Parliament, and we have to be reminded that a vote is for a person, not a party. The Tories know if the positions were reversed, they would have done what we did. Get over it; Live with it.”