When local democracy isn’t quite what it seems…

Epsom and Ewell Borough Council has 38 borough councillors. Of those councillors only 7 are not local Resident Association members.

What does that mean for the local residents of Epsom & Ewell who in good faith and judgement voted them in?  Well according to their website it means that 31 RA councillors are completely free from all party political ties and cannot be whipped.

Also there is no recognised leader of the RA councillors.

Whilst on the one hand this seems very laudable and obviously appreciated by local residents  – who holds them accountable for their actions?

Local residents may be interested to know that only 14 of the 38 councillors have attended 100% of the council meetings they are expected to attend with one having only attending 29% of the council meetings they were expected at.

If they were members of a party there would be questions to be answered.

Of course there are circumstances where it is impossible to attend, but again, if they are party aligned councillors there is party support that might be given or they would be spoken to about standing down and forcing a by-election, in all fairness to local residents.

If the Epsom & Ewell Residents Association councillors are “representatives, not delegates” who holds them accountable, other than the voters?

Surely the voters are not expected to be checking the council website every month to see who is actually attending the meetings where they (voters) are hoping for representation?

If the RA councillors were “whipped” or led surely this wouldn’t be necessary.  Check out your councillors attendance here.

Julia Kirkland

@RuxleyLibDems

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