Toeing the Party Line

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The following letter appeared in the various North Herts editions of today’s Comet newspaper. You can access the ‘e-edition’ (with some difficulty) via this link.

Dear Sir,

In response to the ‘anonymous’ (why?) correspondent who stated that the Conservative Group has adopted rules regarding voting. I am sure they are aware that all Parties, including the Liberal Democrats, have rules in place that require members to support agreed Party positions. They are completely incorrect in saying that anyone voting “in support of their residents” will be immediately subject to a three month suspension. In fact, local Conservative Party rules contain provisions allowing members to vote against or abstain on the agreed Party position when the matter specifically affects their ward or is a matter of conscience. An examination of the recorded vote on the Local Plan in September will confirm that there were several Conservative members who did not support the proposals at that time. The North Herts Conservative Party‚Äôs agreed position continues to be that this Plan should be supported, as a whole, as this is the only way in which we can protect our District from completely unchecked development. The Party Whip works closely with all Conservative members who may wish to abstain or vote against that position to ensure their reasons continue to fall within the rules of the Party. An approach not dissimilar to Liberal Democrat and Labour Party led authorities.

A perhaps more interesting question is exactly what detailed research your correspondent has done in believing that the ‘wishes of the residents’ are to vote against the Local Plan? There are approximately 131,000 residents in North Hertfordshire and we have received 5,675 representations on the Local Plan. Similarly, your correspondent focuses only on the ‘residents who voted him/her in as a councillor’. North Herts Conservatives work for every single resident in North Hertfordshire, not just the approximately 75% that vote or the ~1% who object, but the 100% who will be affected by unrestricted and unchecked housing development.

Cllr. Julian Cunningham.

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