Thursday, 15 September 2011

Sefton Tory Wars-Councillors publishes diary

I must admit to finding former senior policewomen Gill Cuthbertson a decent, intelligent and constructive councillor. I do not always agree with her but I can always follow the logic of her statements and respect the sincerity of her actions.

She is one of a long, long list of elected Tories who has been purged/fallen out with the Tory leadership in the borough. The smaller the group has become the more fractious and divided its members.

In this week's Formby Times it is revealed that Formby Councillor Gill Cuthbertson kept a log of her dealings with the leadership:

On February 14 Cllr Cuthbertson was asked to sign a letter pledging her loyalty to the party.
Two days later she was called to a meeting with the leadership, but before it was held she attended a council committee where two Liberal Democrat members sat either side of her.
Cllr Cuthbertson said when she held the meeting with Cllr Parry on February 21 they told her she was too friendly with the Lib Dems.
Cllr Cuthbertson told the Formby Times: “It makes me laugh. What is the national government?”

In the next section of the report Cllr Cuthbertson refers to Catie Page the successful Labour candidate in Formby and Annee Ibbs who was the Tory whip on the Council who was purged before the last election causing the Tories to loose yet another seat.  The Paula referred too is the hapless Mrs Parry the most unsuccessful Tory leader. The report continues:

On April 11 all Conservative councillors were summoned to Bootle Town Hall and asked to vote in a secret ballot on the three Southport Councillors who had been suspended.
Of the nine members seven voted against them and two, including Cllr Cuthbertson for.
On May 16 the group had its first caucus meeting since the local elections of May 5 and were asked to vote again on the three Southport Councillors. Only Cllr Cuthbertson supported them.
On May 24 Cllr Cuthbertson was called in by the party leadership under the “guise” of an annual appraisal.
She said: “Paula started off by saying, ‘I believe you spoke to Catie Page for several minutes at the count and you wished her good luck.’
Catie Page was the Labour candidate who won a seat on Formby’s Ravenmeols ward.
Cllr Cuthbertson said she took a pen and paper out and started making notes.
She told the Formby Times: “Cllr Parry said, ‘You don’t seem happy with the group.’ I said, ‘I don’t like what happened to Anne Ibbs.’
“Paula said, ‘There seems to be occasions when you are not happy such as when you voted against us’ (over the Southport councillors).
“I said, ‘Nobody has ever told me what the Southport councillors have done.”
Cllr Parry told the Formby Times the meeting had only lasted ten minutes because of Cllr Cuthbertson’s attitude.
The Southport Councillors referenced are the three expelled Tories. They had the whip withdrawn but won their appeal to the national party. They are in the strange position of being members of the party nationally but not taking the whip on the councilWhat is most interesting is lack of natural justice in the operation of the Conservative Group. Ms Cuthbertson asserts ( and I have every reason to accept her integrity) that she did not know what the 'Southport three' had done wrong and yet she was required to vote on their exclusion.
You may conclude that this was a straight forward loyalty test . Don't get me wrong seeing the Tories tear themselves apart in such spectacular fashion does not upset me, but I genuinely think that all part struggle to recruit volunteers to stand in elections and this sort of shenanigans does no one any credit.

Gill is pictured here during her time as Sefton's Mayoress

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