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Tory Councillor: We aren’t rebels

11:30 28 April 2014

The Knowle council chambers at Sidmouth. Picture by Terry Ife. Ref mhv 2232-10-07TI

The Knowle council chambers at Sidmouth. Picture by Terry Ife. Ref mhv 2232-10-07TI

Archant

A Tory district councillor who voted against his own party, leading to a defeat for the ruling group, says he is not a rebel.

Councillor Graham Troman was one of 13 Tories at the recent full council meeting who was against agreeing plans to ‘streamline’ the authority’s marathon planning meetings there and then.

He argued that the decision should first go to East Devon District Council’s watchdog, the overview and scrutiny committee, of which he is the vice-chairman, for ‘further debate’, writes David Beasley.

Development Management Committee (DMC) meetings can last up to 11 hours.

So a working group led by Councillor Ray Bloxham proposed limiting public speakers, requiring them to write to EDDC if they wanted to speak and splitting long meetings.

Councillor Bloxham and 21 Conservatives argued that the full council, with every councillor present, was where the decision should be made.

But Councillor Troman, 12 other Conservatives, six independents and seven Liberal Democrats disagreed – and won the vote by four.

Cllr Troman said: “We aren’t rebels, I just feel that this is so important to the way meetings are run in the future that there should be a full and proper debate. The first many of us heard about this was at DMC and I think it’s right this should be looked at in depth by [overview and scrutiny].”

Cllr Bloxham said: “I’m not worried about a further discussion at scrutiny, but the fact that so many Conservatives voted against this belies the myth that we as a party are whipped and vote in block.”

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