Monday 20th April 2015, and a venue must also be confirmed - I suggest that Ashfield House would be most suitable and appropriate.
Now, on to the Council meeting and what a farce! The Independent Councillor for Hindley Green - Bob Brierley - wasted no time in tackling the Council and Labour over the appointment of another highly paid Officer. Labour tried to play this down by blaming the Government and that it was simply a matter of replacing one member of staff with another. In truth, the person who had left the post had not left the Council's employ, but merely moved to a sideways position. Rumour has it that the Chief Executive will be leaving the Council soon and until then, they have installed a person as Monitoring Officer until the current Chief Executive takes up her new post.
Councillor Brierley delivered a knock-out blow at the end of his speech by declaring that the people of Wigan Borough want front-line services and staff - not over-paid staff who are paid a great deal of money and for what exactly? Ah yes, to hold more meetings - it is so true and it certainly knocked Labour off their feet, after which they found it hard to regain their stride, or find any solid ground. As a result, the meeting was doomed - and Labour would look to any excuse for which to have the meeting brought to a close as it was obviously not going to be their night.
Next came an item which was of particular interest to me - Labour wanted to discuss their Kangaroo Quango the 'Standards Committee' to which I had previously accused the Chief Executive of being a liar who demonstrated political bias towards Labour - a claim I stand firmly behind to this day. On the same item, Councillor Brierley, who at the last election had publicly supported another candidate, informed the meeting that I - Councillor Gareth Fairhurst - was in fact a good councillor, and that during a visit to Standish at the last local election he could see quite clearly that the residents loved me and were appreciative of the many hours of hard work I put in here in Standish.
Well, if anything ought to set the red lights flashing and alarm bells ringing loudly in Labour's ears it was this. The Mayor moved to silence Councillor Brierley who declared that it was his right to speak - at which the Mayor insisted that he not be heard again! Labour passed this and then voted to have him removed from the Chamber. Having experienced this type of behaviour at the hands of Labour before I advised Councillor Brierley that he had done nothing wrong and was constitutionally, well within his rights to stay.
Labour declared that they would telephone the Police - despite no crime having been committed - in order to have Mr Brierley removed from the meeting. So out come the Police, who on hearing our (Independents) side of the story, during which I informed them of a Councillor's Rights, and the fact that no crime had been committed - they acknowledged that they could see no reason for which he be removed. Several newspaper articles have apparently reported that Councillor Brierley had been removed - but I can confirm that this is not the case - he in fact remained in the Chamber.
This appeared to leave the Labour Leader Councillor Peter Smith at a loss as to what to do next, so what do you know he decides that the meeting be closed down. Before he could put this to the vote however, I rose to my feet and proposed that the meeting be allowed to continue, after all we represent the people and we owe it to them not to shy away from the hard issues - for which I received a round of applause.
Labour having closed the meeting down demonstrates a complete lack of discussion and democracy - it also reveals a huge waste of public funds and services - what with the police having been called and remaining for 2 hours until the Town Hall had been closed - how ridiculous is that? There was a lot on the agenda that didn't get discussed and will not now be heard - including the Leigh Guided Busway and Town Centre Development Plan.
I will be writing to the Chief Constable regarding this matter as it is a clear and blatant waste of public money! Since Wednesday evening I have contacted Labour Leader Councillor Smith and requested a meeting with a view of resolving these issues before the next meeting. Councillor Smith insists that this is not possible and therefore has no wish to resolve things. I think he ought to be ashamed of himself, and of course all this just demonstrates the bad attitude which we have come to expect of Labour.
It is less than 4 months until the General Election, it is only right and fair that we open the public's eyes to the antics of Labour in Wigan.