Now Labour Councillors Facing Discipline for Criticism of Tory Council

This is a press release from the Cheshire East Labour Group about the bullying culture at Cheshire East and how the ruling Tory group are now targeting opposition Councillors who dare to criticise the Council leadership. The sentence in bold was highlighted by us.

Statement by Laura Jeuda, Deputy Leader of the Cheshire East Labour Group

It was members of the Labour Group calling out the bullying culture in Cheshire East Council which forced the council to address the appalling practice. Although the ruling Conservative group denied that bullying was happening more than 200 employees reported that they or their colleagues had been victims of this deplorable behaviour.

After considerable pressure from Opposition groups the Local Government Association (LGA) was commissioned to consult staff and elected members. The LGA reported back in January 2018 and from that the Brighter Future programme was introduced. (The LGA made twelve recommendations, only one of which seem to have been implemented after 7 months.)

However, The Brighter Future programme, set up to stop this behaviour only seems to have shifted the emphasis from staff to elected members. It appears that any criticism of the ruling party by opposition members results in a complaint erroneously using the Code of Conduct. This action, apart from the attempt to prevent any criticism of Conservative members, but particularly the Leader and her administration, is costing the Cheshire East Tax Payer a significant amount of money. The legal department within the council spend their valuable resources in what amounts to protection of the ruling group.

Day after day we receive boastful press releases from Cheshire East proudly announcing what a great service they are providing. Their failures are lauded as successes, for example the appalling report on Special Education, the lack of success of adult social care and the fact that for the third year running the external auditor is unable or unwilling to sign off the accounts for Cheshire East.

The stifling of any form of criticism is totally unacceptable in a democratic system. The Tories have made a complete hash of running Cheshire East Council. The police investigations are on-going, officers still suspended and one of the highest increases in Council Tax in the country. All seems designed to protect the ruling Conservative group at Cheshire East Council.

The systematic and blatant bullying of elected members is outrageous. The Tories under the current leader and predecessor have presided over the most shambolic and disgraceful misuse of public resources. They have chosen to attack any member who is critical of this out of control council and by targeting critics hope to deflect public attention away from their gross mismanagement of Cheshire East Council.

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