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Leader says petitioners are harming democracy

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: September 20, 2012

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THE leader of Cornwall Council has responded to claims that a decision by his Cabinet to ignore a full council vote opposing plans to privatise council services claiming that those who had set up a petition against the scheme are "undermining democracy".

Conservative councillor Alec Robertson made the claims in his weekly e-mail to councillors which was sent out earlier this week.

In his e-mail Mr Robertson questioned why councillors had not raised their concerns about the shared services plan earlier in the process, highlighting that reports on the project had gone before the Cabinet four times since 2011.

He wrote: "There has been plenty of opportunity for members to express their views within this time and within the democratic process that, has apparently died in Cornwall.

"Indeed I would argue that waiting until this point, ignoring the decisions of Cabinet and the work of scrutiny, and then employing tactics such as the petition, actually undermines democracy, rather than the other way around."

He also sought to clarify the processes around decisions being made about the project which could see services such as libraries and benefit payments being carried out by a new company formed by the council in partnership with a private firm.

He wrote: "The decisions ... are all the legal responsibility of the Cabinet. As you are aware under the council's constitution the council sets the overall direction of the council and the Cabinet then works within that agreed framework. This means that the decision on whether or not to award a contract is an executive function of the Cabinet."

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  • Niall_Curry  |  September 22 2012, 7:40PM

    So people exercising their democratic right to freedom of speech is undermining democracy?

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