Friday, 6 December 2013

Thanet Labour Group Blocks Debate on EU Referendum

A motion to support a referendum on EU membership was put before a meeting of Thanet Council last night. The Council's ruling Labour Group blocked this motion on the grounds that decisions about EU membership are not within power  of Thanet Council to make  and that therefore it was not appropriate to discuss such a subject.

This is rather a strange argument to use. Thanet Council has  previously voted to condemn the Bedroom Tax, to support Equal Marriage, to support  changes to animal transport laws - all of which I supported and  all of which are issues, like EU  membership,  which the Council does not have the  power to decide on. So why did the Council Labour Group, decide to use this  disingenuous reason to prevent a debate? Simple because if there had been a debate the Council Labour Group would have been forced to reveal that its political bosses in Westminster do not want to allow the British public to have a referendum on EU membership.

This dictatorial  arrogance puts the Labour Party at odds with the vast majority of  Thanet residents and the rest of the country, who want to have an open and frank discussion about our future in the EU. Pro or Anti  EU, we have a democratic right to discuss and vote on this issue. The Labour Party and it representatives  on Thanet Council are clearly turning their backs on the fundamental democratic rights  of local residents when all other parties are supporting and encouraging it. I suspect this  North Korean style of approach towards electors will cost them dearly.

I must say I was disappointed by the poor turnout of Tory Councillors (yet again). They were 6 councillors short. Had they all turned up it would have been possible to have forced some very close votes and perhaps won a decision to discuss the EU situation. Here is a recording of the debate - it would have been much better if the Council   had allowed the public  to film the meeting rather than employing private security guards at great public expense to oversee the riotous public in the gallery. Although last night the guard seemed to by paying particular attention to me - I wonder why? 


  1. Ian,
    You know as well as I do that the three other debates you mention were very different.
    Bedroom Tax and Animal Transportion affect the Council's business directly and required decisions to be taken by the Council.
    Equal Marriage, The Council was asked directly by the Government for its opinion.
    The fact is that the proposed debate on the EU referendum was a political stunt by a likely candidate for Conservative selection. The Standards Independent members have just warned us not to use the Council to make irrelevent political points. We (including you) need to take heed.
    Our General Election candidate Will Scobie is more than willing to debate Labour's stance on Europe in a proper forum.

    1. Hi David if I recall correctly on Animal Transport the Council expressed its support for an 8 hour limit on journeys which can only be decided by the EU. On the Bedroom Tax the Council condemned this policy and called for its revocation, which can only be done by Parliament. So there is a close parallel with the EU motion. Also the fact the Council's Legal officer allowed for the motion to be submitted for debate indicates that it could be legitimately discussed. Finally, Part 4 section 16.4 of the Councils Constitution states that the a motion must "be about matters for which the Council has a responsibility or which affect the district.". Quite clearly membership of the EU massively affects Thanet district in terms of leglislation, and many other issues. To deny this fact, as the Labour party did on Thursday is behave unconstitutionally. Its a shame that the Labour Party, unlike all the other major political parties, has decided not to allow the British public to have a democratic vote on EU membership. Its a shame that Councillor Scobie was denied the opportunity to express his views on this issue on Thursday. David I know you to be a man of principle. You must agree that your leaders approach towards the Standards issues the recording of meetings, and now the EU are massive home goals which will cost you votes. You must also agree that the Labour tactic of blaming me for all your misfortunes is equally ridiculous. I only wish I had that amount of power and influence. This is why the Tories are running rings around you. David you need a new Leader. I am always happy to discuss this with you.