Conservative Councillor Speaks Out

Conservative councillor Mike Fletcher is losing patience with his Party’s ruling group on Peterborough City Council. Cllr Fletcher talks to Paul Stainton at 07:18 on Friday 17th September in the Peterborough Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

PS: Now a councillor from Peterborough has quit his post on one of the Council’s Scrutiny Committees after being asked to stop raising residents’ concerns at a meeting yesterday. Councillor Mike Fletcher has quit from the Strong and Supportive Communities Scrutiny Committee, and is now considering his future with the Conservative Party in Peterborough. In a parting shot at the current Conservative administration Mr Fletcher said he felt as if he was surrounded by nodding donkeys. I’m pleased to say Councillor Fletcher is on the show this morning. Morning Mike.
MF: Good morning.
PS: Nodding donkeys?
MF: Well yes. If I’m prevented from speaking at a Scrutiny Committee, then I’m treated as a nodding donkey. That’s the context in which I made that remark to the ET reporter.
PS: Now you were bringing up residents’ concerns.
MF: That’s correct. There was an item on the agenda that night regarding diversity, cohesion with minority ethnic groups and this sort of thing. And I decided to read out a list of complaints I’d received last weekend regarding an illegal travellers’ camp at South Bretton. I read out about two or three items, and I was prevented from speaking. Now I consider that to be an affront to democracy. If you can’t bring this up at a Scrutiny Meeting, and then enter into debate with the people who had come to put their presentation to the Committee, then just what was the point of me being there? I admit I was very angry. I waited till the end of that session, then I decided I was just wasting my time, so I got up and walked out. And yesterday morning I sent in a letter of reignation from that Committee.
PS: Are you not just taking your ball away here?
MF: No of course I’m not. I was Chairman of a Scrutiny Committee last year, as you know, inquiring into the cost and use of consultants. I was removed from that Committee. One of the excuses used was that I’d used bad language in a factory unit, speaking to two people, in a private conversation. The thing is, I did a bit of effing and blinding, which you do, but nobody said anything about the language that was used to me at different times. So that was thee excuse given to get rid of me from that Committee. And it’s just as though you try and enquire into things, in the public interest, and you just can’t get any answers.
PS: Wouldn’t you be better though, staying within these Committees, so that you can ask the questions that your residents want you to ask? Or try.
MF: Well I’m a Conservative, and I want to stay with the Conservative Party. I have supported them for many many years, and given quite a financial contribution to them. But what are you supposed to do, or how do you do it, if you are just ignored? You ask questions and they’re just ignored.
PS: Do you think you’re a thorn in the side for the leading Conservative group? I mean you mentioned the Committee you were on previously. You asked Peterborough City Council why they paid so much on consultants in the last few years. Do you think you’re being victimised here Mike?
MF: Of course I am. Yes. Yes. I think .. I believe that quite honestly I sometimes think there’s a movement afoot to get me to resign from the South Bretton seat and not stand at the next election.
PS: Did you ever find out why we paid so much on consultants?
MF: No. there was a Task and Finish Group .. Panel formed, which I wasn’t part of, and the last I heard all they’ve done is meet to discuss procedure. I’ve never heard of any outcomes from that, and neither has anyone else. And again, the public have got a right to know these things. (See latest developments). And if they can’t tell us then I just say, what have you got to hide?
PS: Are you going to resign from the Conservative group?
MF: I don’t want to. I’ve been in discussion with our officers, John Peach, Wayne Fitzgerald, and these people, and the consensus of opinion is that I should not resign. And I don’t want to resign. But if it’s made so difficult, then you’re left with no option really.
PS: He’s Councillor Mike Fletcher, who’s quit from the Strong and Supportive Communities Scrutiny Committee, after he says he wasn’t allowed to raise the concerns of his residents, and he was stopped from speaking. And he said as a parting shot at the current Conservative administration that runs this city, Mr Fletcher said he feels that he was surrounded by nodding donkeys.