There was a meeting of Camden Council on Monday, 8th July. As part of my accountability to residents, below are the actions I took at the meeting.
- I paid tribute to Martin Morton, the most recent Conservative to lead Camden Council (1970-71): noting not just his achievements as a councillor and as Leader, but the support he gave me in understanding long-term issues affecting the borough and his humble and self-effacing approach.
- I was not called in the themed debate on supporting and championing Camden’s LGBT community, but I wanted to pay tribute to a number of organisations, and note that NHS England had just committed to expanding the trial of PrEP, after we sent a cross-party letter at my instigation after the last themed debate. I would further have called for specific action on ensuring effective and inclusive sex and relationship education is delivered. (T*)
- I gave my speech as Leader of the Opposition praising the work of the LGBT community bodies, blundering through the sign language version of “We Make Camden Proud” that we had been taught on the Pride march, noting my pride in England’s women’s football team in reaching the semi-finals (but disappointment that none lived in the borough, unlike the men’s), and further noted the Council’s manifold failings on housing, including having the most empty council houses of any local authority: in great part due to CIP. I was astonished that the Leader had not heard that statistic before – surely you don’t just forget owning 890 empty homes?
- I had wanted to speak on the Council’s response to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s draft recommendations, and note my disappointment that the administration did not allow any input from other councillors in formulating its response, but rather presented it as a fait accompli to the Audit Committee a few days previously. I had objected to it then due to its clear unfairness and because of several errors. (R)
- I forced a recorded vote on the Council’s response to the ward boundaries, and voted against the proposals (V).
- In response to the Cabinet member’s follow-up to April’s themed debate on health inequalities, I noted that the Government had, on Friday, announced that it was offering any local authority the power to request more places on the PrEP trial and would integrate it into routine commissioning from next year. This was partly in response to the cross-party letter I instigated at the previous themed debate. The Cabinet member appeared not to be aware of this announcement, and I asked the Cabinet member to request more places, which will save lives. I further noted my disappointment that the Cabinet member had claimed the low vaccine take-up rates I criticised in April’s debate was due to poor reporting, when it is clearly because of poor education by the council – and so asked that more action be taken to inform parents.
- I abstained on the Labour motion for the council to oppose Brexit. This is in-keeping with Camden Conservatives’ policy of not endorsing the use of council meetings, officers’ time, and taxpayers’ money to lobby national government (we thus always abstain on such issues). (V)