Your must read Tuesday evening update: SCRUTINY


ON a council where Labour hold a record number of seats, you may forgive the Conservatives for feeling sensitive about what seats they will have on Camden’s spread of scrutiny committees. Hey, I warned you this was a super niche one, it’s your choice to be reading about committee membership on a warm Tuesday evening when the pubs are still open. Anyway, an officer-written draft of how the new numbers could work caused a mild panic this week when the Tories read that they were not to be given a seat on the culture and environment scrutiny committee…. the one where their favourite topic, bins, is discussed. It was, however, just a first draft and in fact Labour will give the Conservatives a place on every committee, plus the chairmanship of the resources scrutiny committee, i.e. tax and money. Tory guns and more riffs about a ‘one party state’ have been stood down.

The newly-expanded Lib Dems get a seat on that resources committee too, as well as culture and environment. Flick Rea will be offered the deputy chair of planning role. The Greens do not automatically qualify for a committee as they cannot form a group with only one councillor, but in the interests of some scrutiny will be offered one anyway. Labour will choose which subject.

What are the consequences of all of this? The Conservatives are going to be busy: if you’re the only councillor from your party on a scrutiny committee you really have to attend every single meeting. Labour, meanwhile, need to have a plan for restlessness on the backbenches. With the cabinet bed-blocked, there may be a few councillors itching for something to do and idle hands etc It’s not the worst headache in the world for council leader Georgia Gould though and new ‘cabinet advisor’ roles for Labour councillors are set to be manufactured to soothe any frustration.

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