East Lindsey councillors vote against bid for ‘greater transparency’

Councillor Steve Palmer.
Councillor Steve Palmer.
  • Councillor Steve Palmer slams ‘Disappointing and incomprehensible’ result.

District councillor Steve Palmer has expressed his disappointment after fellow councillors voted against a motion to promote further openness and transparency.

Coun Palmer put forward the motion, seconded by Coun Colin Davie, at East Lindsey District Council’s meeting last Wednesday evening.

The motion would have amended the council’s constitution to include the additional disclosure of personal interests and the membership of any body which is either exercising 
functions of a public nature, directed to charitable purposes, or ‘whose principal purposes includes the influence of public opinion or policy’, such as political parties, trade unions and Freemasons.

However, the motion was defeated by 25 votes to 17.

High-profile politicians including leader Craig Leyland, deputy leader Graham Marsh and the majority of the Executive Board, opposed the motion.

Councillors representing Louth wards, including Jill Makinson-Sanders, George Horton and Ros Jackson supported the motion, while Couns Chris Green and Pauline Watson voted against it.

Coun Fran Treanor was absent, and Coun Sarah Dodds abstained.

Proposer, Coun Palmer, said that the defeat of the motion was ‘disappointing and incomprehensible’.

He said: “I cannot see how councillors would not want to demonstrate to the general public, the voters, their openness and transparency by taking the opportunity to list any membership of bodies they belonged to.”

“By voting against a register of these other interests, they have increased the perceived notion that councillors are not as open and transparent as they could be to the residents that they are representing.”

On his public Facebook page, Coun Palmer added that the result was ‘a bit depressing’ and continued: “It appears our district council does not think at this time that the motion to improve the register of councillors interests was worth voting for.

“I do appreciate some of the cross party support that was given, but also disappointed that the vote was lost 25 votes against, 17 for, and four abstentions.

“I will look to see if there is another way of putting this on the agenda again in the future.

“Thank you again for those enlightened enough to recognise there is a problem with people’s perception of the council and councillors.

“It’s just sad that others do not.”

An ELDC spokesman told the Leader: “East Lindsey District Council members considered the motion at the Full Council meeting and a majority concluded that existing arrangements, which see a Registration of Interests published on the Council’s website and Declarations of Interests able to be made at any meeting of the Council (and published in minutes) as being more than sufficient to meet the requirements in this area.”

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