ONE of the two members booted off Winsford Town Council’s finance committee after defecting from the Labour Party has called for legal advice about the decision.

Cllr Dave Edwards and Cllr Mike Kennedy were also removed from other committees they previously sat on after becoming independent councillors.

Members were told that the decision was taken in line with Winsford Town Council’s standing orders – the rules which the council follows to conduct its business lawfully.

But speaking out against the move at Monday’s meeting, Cllr Edwards requested a letter from the council’s solicitors explaining why the decision was taken and under which standing order.

He said: “The philosophy of saying that a councillor does not have the right to speak on financial matters, for me, is an issue of grave concern.

Winsford Guardian:

“It is not good for the council, it is not good for the public, it is anti-democratic.

“I have read my rights as a member of the council and on that finance committee, or any committee that I am not on, I am no more than a member of the public.

“It is in the unfortunate gift of the leading party to allow me to speak and not vote.”

The decision to take the pair off council committees was to ‘maintain the proportionality of the council’ on those boards, Labour Cllr Joanne Moorcroft explained last month.

Cllr Nathan Pardoe, Labour, added: “Many parish councils have membership of the finance committee that is not a full council.

Winsford Guardian:

“Winsford Town Council is very unusual in having its full council membership on the finance committee.”

Cllr Ailsa Gaskill-Jones, mayor of Winsford, told Cllr Edwards that the council ‘can take some advice’ on the situation – before clerk Mark Bailey confirmed that the decision was taken lawfully.

He said: “I take no sides on these decisions, I take no view, I provide impartial advice.

“[The council is] entirely permitted under standing orders to remove people from committees or to change committees.

“That has been my advice in the process that has been followed – whether you agree with it or you do not agree with it, it’s a legal process.

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“We are perfectly within the parameters of [the law]. I have provided my advice on this on a number of occasions and I will leave it there in terms of my comments.

“We have adhered to standing orders at all times and any suggestion that we have not is a reflection on your view of me as your officer – and I, of course, have no right of reply on that.”