The Conservative Leader of the Council has demonstrated unbelievable double standards in a malicious tweet linking Lib Dem ex employees and former councillors to developers. The tweet comes after a Lib Dem motion that would have triggered a debate at Council about Councillor Kevin Davis’ dual role as Leader of the Council and as Chief Operating Officer for a public affairs company was withdrawn for legal reasons.
Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Liberal Democrats said:
"There is a huge difference between ex employees and former councillors lobbying in planning and what Councillor Kevin Davis is doing. He is a serving councillor; he is Leader of the Council and is also employed as a planning lobbyist.
"It was the Tory-led Council that stopped us debating this issue and now the Leader of the Council has issued spurious and defamatory comments about ex Lib Dem employees and former councillors.”
“Today I am calling on the Mayor to call an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council in order to have the debate. All along, I have said it is important the public perception of probity in planning decision-making is critical to ensure the planning system is effective and retains the confidence of all users."
1.Exploding the myths about Lib Dem employees and former councillor links to developers:
He worked as political researcher in the Opposition Lib Dem Office 20 years ago (1993/5) Wyn Evans subsequently became a councillor in 1998 and stood down 13 years ago in 2002. Liberal Democrat Councillors have not met with Wyn Evans in his role working for St George.
She worked as political researcher in the Leader of the Council’s Office in 2009/2011. Liberal Democrat Councillors have not met with Rosie Day in her current role as Communications Manager working for St George.
He was Leader of the Council and stood down as Leader in 2003 to work for Four Communications in London and then a year later in 2004 to avoid any conflict of interests Roger Hayes stood down as a councillor to pursue his business interests. Roger Hayes has held planning forums with Liberal Democrat Councillors and Conservative Councillors on various planning applications that he is working on in the borough with Planning Officers always in attendance at these briefings sessions.
He worked as political researcher in the Leader of the Council's Office from 2005/2007. Liberal Democrat Councillors have not met with Max Camplin about New Maldens House.
2.Call for an Extraordinary Council meeting in accordance with the Local Government Act 1972
We the undersigned, call for an Extraordinary Council meeting at the earliest opportunity to publicly and openly debate the issue of sitting Councillors and former Councillors/political advisors with roles in lobbying for the development industry.
The purpose of the Liberal Democrat motion “Time to Choose” was to have this debate on an area of public concern, but it was refused.
The Leader of the Council has put out a statement listing various former Liberal Democrat councillors and political advisers who work in the lobbying industry for developers; I believe it is now time to have this debate at a well publicised public meeting.
Accordingly, we put forward the following motion for debate at the Extraordinary Council meeting:
This Council notes:
i. Reputation and public confidence in The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Council is crucial and perception of conflicts of interest undermines it.
ii. In a period of rapid growth in large scale developments within Kingston Borough, it is vital that all Councillors act with integrity and are perceived to act with integrity.
iii. The Leader of the Council and the Lead Member for Housing currently work as lobbyists on behalf of developers seeking planning permission.
iv. Many former Councillors now work similarly on developments.
This Council believes:
i. The perception of a conflict of interest exists where a sitting Councillor works as a lobbyist and this is even more apparent when that Member takes a Lead role.
This Council resolves:
i. That no sitting Councillor should be able to take a Lead role (defined as one with a special responsibility allowance), whilst working or owning a company that primary function is public affairs for the development industry.
Councillor Liz Green
Councillor Tricia Bamford
Councillor Chrissie Hitchcock
Councillor Malcolm Self
Councillor John Ayles