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Parties to declare whips at meetings
1:00pm Friday 22nd February 2013 in News
MEMBERS of Malvern Hills District Council will have to declare any party whip at certain meetings from now on.
Council leader David Hughes issued the whip – essentially an instruction on how to vote – to members of his Tory party during recent debates over the South Worcestershire Development Plan and Medium Term Financial Plan.
He was subsequently asked whether councillors should be asked to declare any whips at the start of council and committee meetings.
Addressing the issue in front of full council on Tuesday evening, he said whipping was regarded as an internal matter for political parties and groups.
But he also noted Worcestershire County Council’s practice of declaring whips prior to overview and scrutiny meetings, on the rationale that “scrutiny should be apolitical and focused on evidence”.
A motion to introduce similar measures, calling on Malvern Hills councillors to declare whips prior to overview and scrutiny and standards committee meetings was seconded by opposition leader Tom Wells and unanimously approved.
Coun Wells said the decision was “a step in the right direction” but added: “I do worry about being told on one hand we must declare any interests and on the other not having to tell anyone that I am being asked to vote in a particular way.”