The final death bell for democracy within Woking Council is likely to toll tonight. As I set out here and here in earlier posts the Conservative group who run Woking Council want to take control of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Previously there had been agreement between parties that this important committee should be chaired by an opposition member.
Tonight there is to be a special meeting of the whole council to debate a proposed constitutional change to remove this requirement.
Papers for the meeting, available here from the Council website provide no justification for this change. Rather the Leader of the Council sets down his wish that the requirement for the committee to be chaired by an opposition member is removed. The only supporting evidence is a list of arrangements at other Surrey boroughs and at Surrey County Council.
It is no surprise to see that the ruling party tends to controls Overview and Scrutiny function on Conservative and Residents Association run councils where the ruling group has a large majority. Surrey Heath where Conservatives hold 87% of seats, Runnymede where they have 83% and Tandridge which has 81% Conservative members are prime examples. Is this the aim of the Conservative party in Woking? A virtual one party state and total control.
The special council meeting starts at 7pm tonight. You can watch the meeting either live or recorded from this link.