During a debate on the Labour’s Council’s Site Allocations Plan at Leeds City Council, a Labour Councillor, Neil Walshaw, tweeted: “It’s almost as if they [Conservative Councillors] are under the thumb of small groups of sharp-elbowed NIMBY campaigners in outer areas”.
Cllr Walshaw is Chair of an influential Plans Panel at Leeds City Council and is duty-bound to judge any application independently and on its individual circumstances. Alec was therefore appalled that a senior Labour Councillor issued such insults about thousands of his constituents in Elmet & Rothwell who are rightly concerned about Labour’s destruction of the city’s green belt.
This is much bigger than party politics, it is a matter of whether there has been a breach of local governance rules.
Alec therefore raised the matter in the House of Commons on Thursday 16th November:
Alec Shelbrooke MP: “Last week, the Labour chair of the plans panel on Leeds City Council referred to those who are opposed to the destruction of the green belt in my constituency as “sharp-elbowed NIMBYs”. May we have a statement from the relevant Minister on the quasi-judicial responsibilities of plans panel chairs and the course of action available to applicants, and my constituents in Elmet and Rothwell, when councillors breach those responsibilities?”
Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the House of Commons: “I am sure that my hon. Friend heard the Prime Minister say yesterday that we will continue to protect the green belt. He raises an important point. It is vital that local councillors, like everyone in public life, behave in a way that inspires the confidence and trust of the electorate. My hon. Friend is right to raise his constituents’ concerns. There are some options that he might want to consider if he feels that councillors have breached their responsibilities. There is a code of conduct, required by all local authorities, that applies to local authority members, and there are procedures for considering complaints where members have breached that code of conduct.”