Concerns raised about lack of women on body setting up North Northamptonshire unitary

Cllr Perry (pictured right) says she is concerned about the lack or diversity and female representation on the joint committee.
Cllr Perry (pictured right) says she is concerned about the lack or diversity and female representation on the joint committee.

A female councillor has raised concerns about the number of women on the body that will set up the arrangements for the North Northamptonshire unitary council.

Cllr Victoria Perry, who represents the Kettering Ise ward on Northamptonshire County Council (NCC), says the committee making plans for the future of local government is not representative of the make-up of the county.

Wellingborough Council leader Martin Griffiths is rumoured to be up against East Northants leader Steven North for chair of the committee.

Wellingborough Council leader Martin Griffiths is rumoured to be up against East Northants leader Steven North for chair of the committee.

Of the 15 councillors appointed to the joint committee – which will meet for the first time on Monday evening (June 24) – only two are women. There are also not any councillors from black or ethnic minorities and there are no Liberal Democrat or independent councillors.

At the full council meeting at NCC yesterday Cllr Perry said: “Representation on the joint committee is something that concerns me.

“We are a diverse chamber and we need to be asking ourselves why is it not translating itself into the representatives on the committees that are taking us towards unitary?”

The only other woman on the committee is Jean Addison, the deputy leader of Corby Council.

The committee will meet until the elections in May next year when the 78 councillors for the new shadow unitary council will be elected. These councillors will then automatically become the councillors on the new unitary which will come into being in April 2021.

The four borough councils have all put forward the leader along with another senior councillor and a member of the opposition. Northamptonshire County Council has put forward cabinet member Jason Smithers and Cllr Perry and Cllr Jonathan Ekins.

It is understood that Wellingborough Council leader Martin Griffiths and East Northants Council leader Stephen North will be vying for the important role of chair of the committee and Corby leader Tom Beattie and Cllr Victoria Perry will put themselves forward to be considered for the vice-chair role.

Cllr Mick Scrimshaw, who is also a member of the joint committee, said: “I will be glad to get the ball rolling on Monday. It is disappointing that there is not better representation, but hopefully we get a number of new enthusiastic councillors from next May’s elections which will include better representation from minority communities.”

The meeting is being held at 6.30pm at Kettering Council chamber in Bowling Green Road. Members of the public can attend.