Empty seats as tories boy­cott coun­cil

Accrington Observer - - FRONT PAGE - JON MACPHER­SON

COUN­CIL cham­ber benches were left empty as the Con­ser­va­tive group boy­cotted a meet­ing of Hyn­d­burn coun­cil.

Lead­ing Tories sub­mit­ted a let­ter to chief ex­ec­u­tive David Welsby say­ing they were boy­cotting the meet­ing over ‘the way the coun­cil is be­ing run’.

But Hyn­d­burn coun­cil leader Miles Parkin­son has slammed the op­po­si­tion group over the move.

The Labour boss said the no-show from all seven Tory coun­cil­lors was ‘un­for­giv­able’ and ac­cused them of pulling a ‘cheap po­lit­i­cal stunt’.

The let­ter, read out at the start of Thurs­day’s meet­ing by Mr Welsby, said: “The Hyn­d­burn Con­ser­va­tive group are boy­cotting tonight‘s meet­ing at the way the coun­cil is be­ing run.

“All the is­sues raised are not the re­spon­si­bil­ity of Hyn­d­burn coun­cil, so why on earth can we not spend an evening dis­cussing the is­sues fac­ing us that we can con­trol, for in­stance Ac­cring­ton town cen­tre?

“One only needs to look at Ac­cring­ton town cen­tre to re­alise that our Labour col­leagues are only in­ter­ested in play­ing pol­i­tics rather than fac­ing up to their lo­cal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“On a lighter note, we would like to recog­nise the com­mit­ment that Bernard Daw­son [a re­tir­ing Labour coun­cil­lor who has served on the coun­cil for 38 years] has made to Hyn­d­burn coun­cil over the years.

“His friendly and jovial de­meanour and the com­mit­ment that he has shown to those res­i­dents who he has rep­re­sented not only on Hyn­d­burn coun­cil but also at a county level, we wish you all the very best in your re­tire­ment.”

The boy­cott drew an an­gry re­sponse from Coun Parkin­son who ac­cused the Tories of a ‘dere­lic­tion of duty’. He told the meet­ing: “I’m very sur­prised. It’s a dere­lic­tion of duty of elected mem­bers not to come to this coun­cil cham­ber and rep­re­sent the peo­ple they are elected to.

“They do get an al­lowance and sim­ply cheap po­lit­i­cal stunts com­ing up to an elec­tion is un­for­giv­able.”

The coun­cil meet­ing was the last to be held be­fore the lo­cal elec­tions in May and items dis­cussed by coun­cil­lors in­cluded plans for a new bus lane in Clay­ton-le-Moors and the suc­cess of Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley Com­mu­nity Trust.

Coun Parkin­son added: “Th­ese are the is­sues we are de­bat­ing tonight. They are lo­cal is­sues.

“We de­bate what is im­por­tant to this bor­ough, whether it’s in the town cen­tre or across the bor­ough.

“Po­lit­i­cal stunts by the op­po­si­tion just to get a cheap head­line is un­for­giv­able.”

Empty Con­ser­va­tive seats at last Thurs­day’s full coun­cil meet­ing and coun­cil leader Miles Parkin­son ad­dresses the meet­ing

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