A couple of days ago we wrote about the Ding-Dong not so Merrily on High at Waverley Towers in the bad-tempered pre-Christmas council meeting. But we reported on only half the Pantomime! The curtain then rose on the second act – during which The Borough Solicitor’s advice – no, actually more like an instruction – was ignored by all but one of the Tory opposition.
The political fracas followed Mayor Penny Marriott’s motion to hold a ‘sensitive property matter’ that was subject to a legally binding confidentially agreement’ behind closed doors. Enter, centre-stage on her broomstick, or was it the parachute she used to protect her backside in the last election came Julia Potts, leader of the Tory Group. The lady did protest her ‘extreme concern’ that the matter that had generated extreme public interest was to be debated in private.
Galloping in as the pantomime horse – the *rse end, of course, came ‘Oh Carole’ Cockburn claiming it was perfectly easy to debate confidential items in public just as she had done many times when she was Mayor – “provided the meeting is well chaired!” Giving a second kick to the present Worshipful Mayor for the second time in one evening. Neigh!!
You can read the earlier Ding-Dong below.
Next on stage in a bid to halt the “Tories political grandstanding” came Baron Hardup AKA Deputy Leader Cllr Paul Follows, who said the council was merely “adhering to legal obligations it was forced to abide by.” In part made necessary in view of the “disinformation” that had already been spread publicly on the subject by the Tories!
He resented being accused of misleading the public and could if he wished, reveal e-mails written by non-other than former solicitor Wonersh Cllr Michael Goodridge and comments made in public – saying, “we can provide the evidence.” He claimed, the Tories had, either not read their papers, or were trying to present false information.”
Godalming’s Widow Twanky – Steve Cosser – so steamed up and puffed up we thought he was going to implode – claimed the confidential papers revealed how the matter – the identity of which we at the WW know not – has been handled. “The secrecy that surrounds this site, could and should be scrutinised by the public. “You are setting a dangerous precedent shoving an issue into Exempt that doesn’t need to be there” he yelled!
Is this coming from an experienced councillor who has seen numerous items debated in private by his crowd during its controlling years – mainly in a Conservative Group Pre-Meeting?
Perhaps we should ask our legal advisors’ for their view, said ‘Aunty Elsey’ – Cllr Jenny Else, who regularly claims she always obeys the council’s Code of Conduct and its rules!
Borough Solicitor Daniel Bainbridge told members” “The recommendation from officers is that you debate EVERYTHING on this item IN EXEMPT. This is not the first time the council has been asked to consider something entirely in private, and there are very good legal reasons why at this stage in the proceedings this should happen.”
“I cannot stress more strongly the risk to the council if the contents of the report are discussed in open session.”
Having listened, but obviously didn’t hear his advice, or chose to ignore it – Cllr Else, together with 19 of her colleagues voted against; Only one Tory – Cranleigh’s Cllr Mary Foryszewski opposed the Tory whip. The remaining 34 councillors, based on the legal advice voted to exclude the press and public.
Will ignoring the whip find former Mayor Mary chained to her dog kennel?