At the last Full Council nine councillors declared a pecuniary interest in the item on the licensing of landlords. Of these nine, eight sought dispensation to attend, speak and vote at the various council meetings on this subject. These nine are all landlords and will be personally affected by the outcome of the debates, especially if licensing is adopted.
Cllr Ward (independent) chose not to seek dispensation, and will not take part in these debates.
It is the Standards Committee that decides on the dispensations.
I sit on the Standards Committee and had to sit through the discussions earlier this week when the Tory councillors on this committee exercised all sort of logical gymnastics in justifying the claims of those seeking dispensation.
I do not think they should be allowed any role in these debates – there is a clear, and admitted, pecuniary self-interest. However, they are taking part – five Conservative councillors have ensured that.
Many reasons were put forward as to why these dispensations were needed, and none convinced me. Pecuniary interest must mean exclusion, whatever the subject of the debate. We cannot have councillors influenced by self-interest, which is what the debate on landlord licensing has now become.
The councillors granted dispensation are one from the Independent Group: Cllr Ayling. There are seven from the Conservative Group: Cllrs Boyd, Evans, J Garston, Habermel, Hadley, Salter and Waterworth.
Unlike Cllr Terry I did not flounce out of the meeting – I stayed until the end. I was disappointed, but not surprised to see the Conservatives favouring self-interest; after all theirs is the self-interest party.