01:10PM, Friday 31 May 2019
Opposition councillors have expressed concern that the Labour-dominated borough council will result in ‘one-way traffic’ when it comes to decision-making.
In the local elections on May 2, Labour took two seats from the Conservatives, meaning the party now holds 37 of the 42 seats on the council.
With one party so dominant, opposition councillors have voiced their concerns about the health of democracy in the borough.
Cllr Rajinder Sandu (Upton), the only independent councillor in Slough, said: “It’s something I do worry about.
“It’s like one-way traffic. If they are just voting for whatever decision is made by the cabinet it’s not very healthy.”
Last year Cllr Sandu was the vice-chair of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, but since he defected from the Conservatives to become an independent councillor, he is now just a voting member.
Both the chairman and vice-chairman of the committee are Labour councillors.
Cllr Sandu said: “Last year we tried to do our best but it depends on the way people vote.
“Sometimes they vote with the flow and sometimes they vote according to how they feel on the issue.
“Last year it was not that bad. This year I am just a member, I’ll see how much I am able to do.”
The main opposition party, the Conservatives, hold four seats in the borough.
Cllr Wayne Strutton (Con, Haymill and Lynch Hill), the Conservative Group leader, is confident that his party
can still hold Labour to account.
He said: “I’d rather have a smaller group dedicated to doing the work properly.
“The only way we will win hearts and minds in the borough is working for the borough and trying to hold the council to account for its mistakes and issues.
“We will ask questions that our residents want to be asked.”
Cllr Arvind Dhaliwal (Lab, Elliman), chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee,
said the number of opposition councillors should not affect balance.
He said: “We scrutinise every important item on the agendas that affect the residents.
“It shouldn’t really affect balance, it’s entirely up to the Conservatives, how hard they work, how well they represent and give themselves to the residents.”
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