Tory plan to "Shake up democracy" in Thurrock to be unveiled

THE THURROCK Conservatives are planning a massive shake up of Thurrock’s democracy to give the public more of a say.

Two motions will be tabled and debated at the next full council, from Conservative Deputy Leader, Cllr James Halden, and the Conservatives Corporate Governance spokesman, Cllr Shane Hebb.

The motions will kick off a formal review process into the councils governance and election arrangements.

In a joint statement, Councillors Halden and Hebb said “The current system is not ideal for Thurrock.

"At present, we have council elections each year, but we elect a council leader with vast powers once every four years. This means that the public can reject a party, not give it a majority in the chamber, but that party could still govern with very few checks and balances. That is wrong, and it needs to change. This is not an issue indicative of this Labour Administration, it is an issue all councils of all political colours are facing up and down the nation.

"We do not want to hamstring the executive, but rather ensure that all members have meaningful roles to act upon the wishes of their own electorates, not simply to sit on scrutiny committees and just “noting” papers. Also, we want the public to give a clear steer to their elected leaders so we can drive in the direction that has been consented too. In our minds, this means ending the elections of members in thirds and ending the monopoly of the cabinet to exercise functions.

"This certainly does not mean we have closed minds. We do not want to unilaterally scrap the cabinet system or the regular input of the voters that yearly elections allow. This is a conversation we want to have with all members of all parties.

We have all heard about hundreds of millions, and indeed billions of pounds of regeneration in Thurrock, from our ports to our shopping centres. These projects can only be a success if the public can actively vote for members who are empowered with a clear mandate to act for them. That is why we hope to pass these motions and begin a conversation with colleagues from all parities about how we improve inclusive council decision making in public”.

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