Legal Aid: Independents side with Tories to narrowly defeat Green Group motion
9 July 2013
INDEPENDENTS SIDE WITH COUNTY TORIES TO NARROWLY DEFEAT GREEN GROUP MOTION
Today the newly formed County Green Group flexed its muscles and looked set to defeat the Conservative administration until the small group of Independent councillors rallied to their defence giving the Tories a narrow victory (32 to 28 votes with 3 of the 4 independents voting with the Tories). The vote related to planned Government cuts to Legal Aid - which are being vigorously opposed by the Greens.
The vote was the closest for many years and sent shock waves through the County Conservative leadership reminding them of their fragile hold on power since the May elections.
The Green Group motion requested that the Council appeal to the Lord Chief Justice and the relevant Government Ministers to reverse the planned £200m cut to the legal aid budget which would disproportionately impact on the poor, disabled and vulnerable through changes to the eligibility criteria. The motion was moved by Green Party Councillor David Williams and backed by Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
"I thought we were about to win a sensational victory with a triumph for common sense over blind party loyalty", said Cllr Williams "but the Independents mysteriously, and at the last minute, threw in their lot with the Tories. The debate was very one sided with a number of Tories clearly uneasy with their national party stance and the social impact it will have."
The motion quoted Lord Neuberger, the President of the UK Supreme Court, who has criticised the cuts in Legal Aid (Guardian 18/06/2013) saying it would create a two tier legal system where only the rich will get justice.
The Independents included: Mark Gray
For more Information contact: Cllr David Williams mobile 07531328931