Bid to make Kettering councillors declare whip ‘for transparency’ blocked by Tories

Conservative councillors vote at a meeting last year.
Conservative councillors vote at a meeting last year.

A bid to make councillors on Kettering Council declare whether they have been whipped into voting a certain way was branded “a waste of time” last night (Wednesday).

Independent councillor Michael Brown, a former Tory, moved the motion which he said would bring ‘transparency’ to the council after a number of ‘block votes’ by Conservatives.

He claimed that councillors might not be able to fully represent their constituents if they are bound by the Conservative constitution.

He said: “This motion aims to give some clarity to the people of Kettering.

“Backbenchers have been punished for having a different opinion on behalf of their residents.”

The motion drew support from fellow independent Cllr Ruth Groome, Liberal Democrat Cllr Andrew Dutton and all Labour councillors.

Labour leader Cllr Mick Scrimshaw said: “I have never known a Labour group [in my time on Kettering Council] put a whip on any decision.

“We have a radical way of dealing with these issues - we talk about them.

“If we did put a whip on I would be happy to declare it.”

Conservative Lesley Thurland questioned Cllr Brown’s agenda behind the motion, adding that he had not been democratically elected as an independent councillor.

She said: “I certainly do not appreciate having to reveal what goes on with my conscience or within my party.”

Fellow Conservative Cllr James Hakewill said: “This motion is naive in its presentation.

“I think it’s a waste of time to bring it to us.”

The motion was defeated by 20 votes to 10.