Mayors Statement - Order of Business
Before consideration of the formal agenda, the Mayor informed members of a change to the order of business set out on the original summons. The Mayor advised that as members of the public were present to make a deputation and in support of the Non-Cabinet member debate he intended, in accordance with Standing Order 30, to move these items forward on the agenda for consideration in advance of Agenda Item 5 (Appointments to Committees and Outside Bodies).
As a result it was RESOLVED that
(1) The business to be considered at the meeting be re-arranged in the following order:
· Agenda Item 5 – Deputations
· Agenda Item 6 – Non-Cabinet Member Debate
(2) The remaining items of business follow in the same order as listed on the agenda
(Please note the minutes reflect the order in which the items were considered at the meeting).
Prior to considering the first item listed on the agenda, Councillor Duffy advised the Mayor that he would, with immediate effect, be resigning as a member of the Labour Group. His resignation was due to concerns over how his request for an independent review into the way reports of asbestos contamination in soil at Paddington Old Cemetery had been dealt with.
As a result of Councillor Duffy’s resignation, Councillor Warren moved a procedural motion that the Council seating plan be amended with Councillor Duffy being seated between Councillor Carr and Councillor Kansagra.
It was RESOLVED that the change in seating plan be agreed. Councillor Duffy immediately re-located to his new position.
Councillor Duffy then advised the Mayor that he wished to raise an item of urgent business, under Standing Order 30 (r) requesting that in view of the concerns raised regarding Paddington Old Cemetery, an independent review be set up in order to provide the necessary reassurance for staff, local residents and those families from the adjacent school and with graves on site. He advised that his request was also supported by Baroness Jones and the Friends of Paddington Cemetery.
In response, the Mayor felt it was important for members to be aware that the issue had been independently investigated by Internal Audit and the Audit Advisory Committee, which was chaired by an Independent Member. After careful consideration, the Audit Advisory Committee had not thought there was anything further to investigate and on this basis the Mayor advised he did not think there was any justification for the matter being considered as an urgent item at the meeting. He therefore ruled that the meeting should proceed to the first item of business.
The comments made by the Mayor were supported by Councillor Choudry, as Vice-Chair of the Audit Advisory Committee who confirmed that the investigation undertaken by Internal Audit had been considered at length by the Committee, including the independent members appointed to serve on that body. He was also therefore satisfied with the outcome of the process.
Councillor Warren, in support of the matter being considered as an urgent item, sought clarification on the ruling made by the Mayor and it was confirmed that the decision on whether an item be accepted as urgent was at the Mayor’s discretion.
The Mayor subsequently confirmed his original ruling and moved on to the next item of business.