Following the shambles of Barnet’s Annual Council meeting, there’s been more constitutional chaos at the Town Hall after it emerged that too many councillors had been appointed to the Environment Committee which met last night.
Barnet’s constitution sets out that the Environment Committee has 10 committee places, with 5 councillors to be nominated by the Conservative and 5 to be nominated by Labour. However, 11 councillors were actually appointed to the committee at the chaotic Annual Meeting – 6 Tories and 5 Labour – forcing the Environment meeting last night to be adjourned while legal advice was sought.
During the adjournment, Conservative Cllr Sowerby, who was substituting for another Tory councillor, decided to break the impasse by going off to watch the World Cup – leaving only 10 councillors present as allowed under the Constitution.
Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “Last night was like something out of a farce caused by yet more constitutional chaos. The Tories really couldn’t organise a booze-up in a brewery – they were obviously in complete melt-down at the Annual Meeting, and this is the result. It is a real concern that the meeting went ahead – even without Cllr Sowerby there – because it was effectively called in contravention to the constitution.”
The error in the number of councillors on the committee will have to be resolved at the next Full Council meeting on 15 July.