Last night, Cllrs Cook and Harpley took part in an online “extraordinary meeting” at Broadland District Council, to discuss emergency powers during the current Coronavirus pandemic. Councillors voted in favour of allowing council decisions to be made by an emergency committee should Covid-19 make it so that regular meetings can not take place, even with social distancing and online options being made available.
The emergency committee would comprise of six members, including cabinet chair and vice-chair Shaun Vincent and Trudy Mancini-Boyle, the main opposition leader Steve Riley, portfolio holder for housing and wellbeing Fran Whymark, and two other members who would be selected for “political balance” (at a ratio of 5:1).
Cllrs Cook and Harpley (and the 7 other Cllrs) abstained on that particular vote as although they were broadly in favour of allowing emergency powers should they be needed, they were concerned that the Conservatives voted down the Liberal Democrat amendment to allow an extra person on to the committee. An experienced previous Norfolk County Council cabinet member offered his services to the committee but the Tories were not willing to extend the it by just 1 extra place and could not give any reason why not. Such small minded stubbornness was very disappointing so neither Cllr Cook nor Harpley wanted to vote in favour of giving them further powers with less scrutiny if they were not prepared to be more open and adaptable.
2 April 2020