Just caught up with latest Cornwall Council gossip on Graham Smith’s blog to discover that Cllr Jan Powell has shaken the dust of the Tory group off her heels and joined the Lib Dems. As well as bit of a coup for new Lib Dem leader Jeremy Rowe (understandably chuffed in his blog) it will probably make for some interesting manoeuvring ahead over the Adult Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
As I wittered on here Jan Powell was the Chair of the AHOSC but recently removed by the volatile Tory leader Alec Robertson, who is said to have had legal advice (after two years) that having a daughter with learning disabilities made her unsuitable for the committee.
Most of the rest of us came to the conclusion that Jan was removed for doing her job too well and making sure health issues are scrutinised with an independent eye and with regard for people in Cornwall above party political interest. A leader in control of his party might simply have asked his representatives on the committee (who form a majority as it is politically balanced) to vote for another candidate but something tells me that he is not so sure that Independents – and even some Tories – are quite so obedient, so he had to remove her.
I last saw Jeremy Rowe scooting off for some legal advice and strongly suspect he got the answer he wanted and Alec Robertson’s claim that legal advice made him take Jan Powell off the committee will look a bit silly when she is appointed from the Lib Dem group. And looking at the numbers on the committee, the Lib Dems could soon be chairing Adult Health Scrutiny, causing even more outbursts from the stressed out Leader.
Four Conservatives, four Independents, five Lib Dems and one Labour. I would vote for Jan, so it’s 6 – 8. It will take 1 Indie to vote for Jan instead of the Tory Leader’s choice for Chair to make it even and 2 to re-elect her. Will there be any tactical absences or stray votes? We’ll have to wait until 26 July.