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EMILY BROTHERS CRITICAL OF SUTTON HEALTHWATCH LIB DEM BIAS
MONDAY 21 JULY 2014

 

 

Emily Brothers, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam, has revealed that she has been working behind the scenes to resolve criticism about Sutton HealthWatch Lib Dem bias. However, Ms Brothers’ approach has been rejected by Sutton HealthWatch. Emily Brothers said:
“I proposed a meeting with the Chair of Sutton HealthWatch to discuss how Labour could support their work. I’ve tried to engage with them in the past, but they haven’t been very receptive.
“I also suggested that HealthWatch could hold another meeting later this year in Sutton and Cheam with support from the Labour Party, as they had done with the Lib Dems in Carshalton and Wallington. I would have been happy to organise this with smaller parties and interested groups. Again, my suggestion has been dismissed out of hand.
“I think a dialogue with me would have helped to re-balance the debate, having the potential of finding a constructive way forward. Instead, they have proven stubborn.
“I’m very disappointed with the outcome. Instead of reaching out, Sutton HealthWatch has become entrenched, locked into a political stance that undermines their claim to be independent.
“I did not attend last week’s meeting because it was clear from the outset that it failed the neutrality test, with 4 of the 5 speakers being prominent Lib Dems. I didn’t think the Q&A session would be very transparent, but neither did I want to be associated with disruptive behaviour. I have simply tried to find a pragmatic solution.
“I try to be a fair minded politician, so I’m saddened by Sutton HealthWatch’s wholly inadequate response, tarnishing their reputation. I’m also disappointed by the way Lib Dems are manipulating some community groups, many believing that working in alliance with Lib Dems alone will help maintain their funding or influence.”
Emily Brothers is concerned that Lib Dem dominance on Sutton Council is leading to a democratic deficit, including Lib Dems having undue influence over the voluntary sector locally. A longstanding supporter of electoral reform that would bring about fairer politics, Ms Brothers has tabled a question to Lib Dem Leader, Ruth Dombey, at tonight’s Full Council meeting. She asks:
“In light of Sutton’s democratic deficit and the Lib Dem Leader’s recent discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister about devolving greater powers to councils, will she commit to a local Referendum on a fairer voting system for Sutton residents and explain, in the meantime, how the Lib Dem local authority will reach out to enable other shades of opinion to be voiced and recognised across the borough?

 

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