There was a virtual meeting of Camden Council on Monday, 19th April. As part of my accountability to residents, below are the actions I took at the meeting.
- On behalf of the Conservative Group, I paid tribute to HRH the Duke of Edinburgh after his passing. His century of service was unparalleled and unprecedented and set an example for all of us to live up to. (S)
- I gave my speech as Leader of the Opposition by paying tribute to Eric Gordon, the editor and proprietor of the Camden New Journal, who passed away recently after four decades at its helm. I noted that he was an iconoclast who spoke truth to power and stood up for residents whatever his own politics. And I noted that’s what councillors should do… (S)
- I noted some suggested locations of polling stations in a report on the review of polling stations. In particular, those in the new Belsize ward seem completely inappropriate – as residents from as far away as Haverstock Hill would have to go to Holy Trinity on Finchley Road to vote. I suggested somewhere on Maresfield Gardens (e.g. Netherhall House, Danish YMCA) and somewhere near Haverstock Hill (e.g. Pax Lodge). Both suggestions are being taken forwards. (R)
- I was due to propose a motion (seconded by my Conservative colleague Stephen Stark) to establish a School Sustainability Review, in the wake of several state schools being closed, reduced in size, or proposed to be. Labour rejected this and amended it to say that their Education Strategy – to be published in the summer or autumn – is enough. But unless it addresses matters away from education policy that affect school place sustainability, such as Camden not building enough family homes, then this is not enough. (M)
- I was due to second an amendment (proposed by my Conservative colleague Andrew Parkinson) to a Lib Dem motion thanking teachers – which we supported – with a request that the Chief Executive of the council takes personal responsibility for catch-up teaching. This is vital, as Camden has allowed a large gap to open between its state schools and local independent schools during the pandemic. This amendment was accepted by the original mover of the motion, as was a Labour amendment, and so it was carried unanimously. (A)
- I was due to second an amendment (proposed by my Conservative colleague Henry Newman) to a Labour motion on creating a plastic-free borough – which we supported – noting that Camden had committed in 2018 to be a plastic-free borough by 2020, and it hadn’t done it yet. Again: Labour talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. We furthermore proposed some constructive measures that Camden could take, especially on recycling awareness. This amendment was voted down. (A)