Lib Dem Candidate Describes Tory Assembly Walk Out As "Petty & Unacceptable"

Local AM Richard Tracey refutes accusations of "lack of regard for recent cycle deaths"

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The Lib Dem candidate for the London Assembly in Merton and Wandsworth, Lisa Smart, has described the decision of Conservatives to walk out of last Wednesday's London Assembly meeting as "petty and unacceptable".

She criticised the action after the meeting had to be abandoned, preventing all further business including a discussion of cyclist safety issues.

At 11.52am, during discussion on Item 6 on the agenda (Establishment of the Police and Crime Committee) the following Members left the Chamber, rendering the meeting inquorate:
Tony Arbour, Gareth Bacon, Richard Barnbrook, Andrew Boff, Victoria Borwick, James Cleverly, Brian Coleman, Roger Evans, Kit Malthouse, Steve O'Connell and Richard Tracey.

The meeting therefore ended and the remaining business on the agenda was not considered. The Chair stated that she would refer that business to the next appropriate Assembly meeting.

All 11 Conservative members of the Assembly walked out over a separate row over the way the Assembly's committee seats are allocated.

Assembley Member for Wandsworth & Merton, Richard Tracey (pictured left), told
"I did walk out with Conservative colleagues and the Independent Member from the Assembly Plenary, but it is not true to say, and we utterly refute all suggestions, that we in some way walked out yesterday because of a lack of regard for recent cycle deaths. 

All motions on Wednesday, including our own, were lost by this action. All the parties who have conspired to deny the Conservative Group fair and equitable chairmanship of Assembly committees will have known that if they did so this time we would leave. But that did not stop them playing their games.

Given this, you must ask them why, given our stance on representation, they chose to ignore the democratic will of Londoners in favour of their own narrow advantage and scuppered debate on all motions before the Assembly.

On the cycling issue in the GLA and TfL, the last time it came up we brought back a motion with cross party support to make sure we debated the point and got a united position to take to TFL.

I have many years experience in the House of Commons where the Select Committees are divided on Chairmanships along strictly proportional party political lines.

In the Assembly, Conservatives hold 11 seats while Labour have 8, Lib Dems 3, and Green Party 2. Conservatives clearly hold the largest number of seats, but the smaller parties have formed an "alliance" to exclude Conservatives from Chairmanship and Deputy Chairmanship of the main committees."

But Ms Smart said, "This anti-democratic action by Richard Tracey and his Conservative colleagues was very petty politics which I, and no doubt most Londoners, find unacceptable.  With sixteen tragic cyclist deaths on our roads this year it is clear that the Mayor and TfL neDecember 14, 2011nservative AMs - incidentally the second time in as many months they have shown such disregard for the democratic process - thwarted an opportunity for the Assembly to voice its very serious concerns about the safety of cyclists on London's roads."


December 9, 2011