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Tories' Tit-For-Tat Walk Out Scuppers Road Safety And Clean Air Votes

By jamesup Last edited 72 months ago
Tories' Tit-For-Tat Walk Out Scuppers Road Safety And Clean Air Votes

Conservative members of the London Assembly walked out of the Plenary Session yesterday, preventing the scheduled debates and votes on Green AM Jenny Jones’ motion on keeping a 20mph speed limit on Blackfriars Bridge (as TfL recommended in 2008), and Lib Dem Mike Tuffrey’s Motions to call on the Mayor to introduce a new clean air zone by next summer (because London is dangerously polluted).

The Blackfriars row (previously reported here, here and here) became embroiled in low politics as Conservative members protested at not being elected to a ‘fair’ share of the committee chairmanships in the assembly, this is pretty dull assembly stuff, but please bear with us (or skip to ‘here’s the rub’ below).

As happened in their favour under the previous mayor, the opposition parties in the Assembly (those who represent parties other than the Mayor) used their combined majority to elect their representatives to the Chair and Deputy chair positions of the assembly and its committees, where the majority of the assembly’s work gets done. Coalitions eh, who'd have 'em?

After the vote AMs took to Twitter to exchange 140 character rhetorical blows. Conservative AM Andrew Boff announced:

He directed angry campaigners, who’d been working toward the vote for several weeks, to:

The ever excellent Ross Lydall at the Standard did the hard work of speaking to the Tories, who are also still angry that Ken called new Boris Chief of Staff Edward Lister ‘Mladic’, which isn’t very nice. James Cleverly, the leader of the conservative group complained to the Greens that:

He also chipped in to campaigners, including Mark from ibikelondon (who covered the row) that:

The Conservative proposition is that the Assembly is there to scrutinise the Mayor. This is somewhat undermined by the profusion of ‘Back Boris’ logos on their websites and twitter feeds. Do they contend that they can effectively scrutinise the Mayor, whilst campaigning for him?

Here’s the rub, we’re now writing about a frankly boring and pathetic row about City Hall job titles - whereas if they had stayed to debate and vote we’d be reporting that the London Assembly, in its duty to scrutinise the Mayor, has voted against his policy of putting smoothing the traffic ahead of road safety, and for keeping a 20mph limit on Blackfriars Bridge. This would have been a turning point in the debate.

The Conservatives AMs walked out on a vote that would likely have passed, and which they opposed. Conservative AMs were responding to queries from constituents with the shared line that “My view is that creating a 20mph zone would run the risk of causing excessive congestion on this busy crossing.” One struggles to believe that they didn’t chose to make this walkout at the time they did without considering the matters on the agenda.

If the Conservative members share the apparent majority opinion of the Assembly that the current road agenda puts congestion unduly ahead of safety - which certainly some have said they do (notably Andrew Boff, who has been supportive of a 20mph limit in the past), this is a very odd way of showing it.

For many concerned parties following the motions’ progress this is a very disappointing introduction to Assembly politics. We deserve better.

Last Updated 09 June 2011

Mark

Utterly childish behaviour by the Tory AMs. Let's not forget that they earn £53,439 a year in order to represent their constituents in such a sterling manner.

Dave H

Well that's politicians for you. I'm always amazed when people act surprised at politicians behaving like children, engaging in petty infighting, breaking pledges, etc. Surely everyone has known for years that these are fundamental, basic traits of all politicians?

Tories, Labour, Libdem, Green -- they all do it. The only difference from one story to the next is who got caught doing it this week.

BethPH

 Excellent post and I completely agree. It's childish beyond words ad we do deserve better.

celticwarrior1

seems like they have an over bloated elected body, why do they need so many people to scrutinise the mayor? surely a deputy would fullfill that role, one from an opposite party

Andrew Boff

There is an agreement amongst the other parties to specifically exclude Conservative members from chairing any main scrutiny committee.
The Conservative proposition is that the Assembly is there to scrutinise
the Mayor. This is somewhat undermined by the profusion of ‘Back Boris’
logos on their websites and twitter feeds. Do they contend that they can effectively scrutinise the Mayor, whilst campaigning for him?

Yes and the fact that you suggest we can't means you haven't been paying attention.We even got a mention from Green AM Darren Johnson in his last meeting as Chair of the Assembly that the Conservatives members had been particularly effective in doing the job of holding the Mayor to account. Our group has challenged his position on the the Local Enterprise Partnerships, the quality of Housing on the Olympic site, the imposition of the Olympic route network, the introduction of driverless trains, the setting up of academies, the siting of bus stands ......

We are Conservatives, not sycophants.