Yesterday a motion was brought to the London Assembly about the speed limit of Blackfriars Bridge, as the motion came to be debated, the Conservative members rose and left the Assembly. The Assembly became inquorate and so the debate didn’t occur. What an utter shambles of democracy, instead of doing their jobs the entire party flounced off. Oh, this annoyed me, so I looked up who represents me in the West Central area and e-mailed them, I got an out of office reply, which is surprising, I wonder where Kit Malthouse was, he certainly wasn’t sitting the chamber… So I followed the instructions and e-mailed one of his assistants, and also got an out of office reply, good to know for a while no-one in West Central constituency were being tended to. Here follows my e-mail and reply from Claire Swienton:
Dear Claire Swienton,
I have received an out of office response to an e-mail I’ve sent to Mr Malthouse, I would appreciate you passing on the details of this e-mail or if possibly answer on his behalf:
I was very disappointed to hear today that Mr Malthouse and the other Conservative Assembly Members walked out today making the plenary meeting inquorate. As a resident of West Central constituency I would like to know why Mr Malthouse did so and why he felt that this was not an issue worth debating?
Further, I would like to know Mr Malthouse’s opinions on the proposals of the Blackfriars redesign and proposed retention of the 20mph speed limit on the bridge.
Dear Mr Gibbons,
Thank you for your email about the motion calling the Mayor to re-think his decision not to retain the temporary 20mph speed limit currently in place on Blackfriars Bridge.
I am afraid that you have got only part of the story from the media coverage on this issue – thank you for taking the time to interrogate the matter further. Conservative London Assembly Members walked out of the Chamber yesterday because Labour and Green Members refused after several invitations to condemn and disown Labour candidate Ken Livingstone.
Ken Livingstone last week described, in a most offensive and unacceptable way, Edward Lister, the Mayor’s new Chief of Staff and former long-time Leader of Wandsworth Council, as “the Radko Mladic of local government” at a public event last week. Livingstone is challenging successor Boris Johnson at next year’s Mayoral elections. Yesterday, after questioning Lister on his past policies at Wandsworth and the advice he’ll provide to the Mayor in future, Assembly Members passed a motion condemning Livingstone’s remarks. The motion which also welcomed Lister’s appointment to his new role following the death of Sir Simon Milton his predecessor. The motion was backed by Liberal Democrats on the Assembly and while Green Party AM Darren Johnson said he condemned Livingstone’s comments he was unwilling to back the uncritical description of Lister’s past record in the motion. Labour AMs voted against the motion which was passed 13 votes in favour to 8 against with one abstention.
The Conservative Members did not walk out to avoid the Blackfriars debate and are still in direct discussion with the Mayor and his Transport advisors about the situation because it will ultimately be the Mayor who has the final decision. Yesterday’s events have not however, removed the possibility of the motion (which was proposed by Jenny Jones, a Londonwide AM for the Green Party) from re-appearing on the Assembly’s plenary schedule in future.
I do hope this explanation has made the position a little clearer for you.
Let’s first deal with the obvious point, that once again I’ve asked the opinion of my representative, and not been answered. Sucky, Andrew Boff, another Tory Assembly Member has come out and said his opinion that he supports 2omph, must be nice to to know what your representative thinks.
Now the rest is largely condescending, if I knew about the walk out, I’d clearly know a bit about the surrounding issues. But let’s deal with why our representatives walked out: Someone got insulted in politics. Fuck me sideways I have never heard of such a thing ever happening before.
Other reports are coming in that they walked out because the Conservatives are under represented on committees, firstly they are present as chairs of several, and furthermore they do not hold overall majority of the assembly, so Labour, Lib Dems and Greens are greater in number and so a “progressive majority” have formed.
Secondly, what the fuck does this have to do with Blackfriars? Absolutely nowt, I am embarrassed by such petty behaviour. This is wasting everyone’s time, as the motion will have to be re-proposed and debated, and again they can walk out. I wonder what caused them to arbitrarily choose this debate to invalidate, or is it indicative of the contempt over this particular issue.
Thank you for your swift response, however, I am still unsure of Mr Malthouse’s opinions on the matter.
While the final decision lies with the Mayor, a show of support by the Assembly would show further support for the motion, and this is an important matter to many Londoners.
Ken Livingstone’s remarks have been well reported and I knew of them, however, I fail to understand what they have to do with the Blackfriar’s debate. As the Conservative’s seemingly waited for this debate it shows a general air of contempt about the issue which I find deeply disturbing. It seems the Assembly welcome’s Mr Lister’s appointment through the motion you referred to, which further begs the question why the members felt the need to leave over what, while insulting, is to mine and many other constituents, a petty political matter.
Further it seems to be wasting the time of Assembly Members, as the issue is now being dragged on and while it could have been debated on Wednesday it will need to be re-motioned. Considering the high salary of the members, as well as the inherent costs of running the meetings, I feel embarrassed by the behaviour of my representative, and I would appreciate you forwarding these sentiments to Mr Malthouse.
To be continued… (another out-of-office reply, where the hell are these people and why do they come into the office once a week)