Camden's scrutiny process condemned by Green Party opposition councillor

Cllr Sian Berry

Cllr Sian Berry speaking at Camden's full council meeting condemning the scrutiny committee process - Credit: Camden Council

Camden's sole Green Party councillor has accused the Labour council of "not having the winning spirit" when allocating scrutiny positions to opposition parties on committees.

Cllr Sian Berry, who represents Highgate, was speaking at a full council meeting on Wednesday (May 25) where council positions were announced. 

In a celebratory evening that saw outgoing mayor Cllr Sabrina Francis replaced by former leader Cllr Nasim Ali, and a new Labour cabinet rubberstamped, Cllr Berry said she "didn't want to cause a huge upset" to the evening but that she could not "let the agenda go by".

Cllr Berry is on two audit committees, but on no committee scrutinising council decisions, such as resources or housing.

Saying she would continue to support her constituents "outside town hall meetings", she added that she was "putting a few words on record" about "how unhappy I was with the process of allocating the places on committees scrutinising council work".

Liberal Democrat leader Tom Simon is the only opposition councillor chairing a committee – in his case, the resources and corporate performance scrutiny committee.

"It didn't feel to me like a winning team operating in the spirit of  of supporting healthy opposition scrutiny of its work in important areas," Cllr Berry said, only to be met by silence from the largely Labour chamber.

During the meeting Cllr Georgia Gould was re-elected as council leader and selected Cllr Pat Callaghan (Camden Town) as her deputy, saying her "voice is wisdom".

Two new cabinet members to take position were Cllr Marcus Boyland (Gospel Oak), who will oversee the best start for children and families, and Cllr Francis (Bloomsbury), who will take the lead on young people and culture.

Most Read

Cllr Gould added: "This is a very cohesive day, we will have great debates in this chamber but I know we all love Camden and we will work together to serve Camden.

"I'm really grateful to everyone in Camden for putting their faith in this administration to lead the borough."

She said it fell to the council to "be a place that stands up for our communities, that supports communities through the cost of living crisis and make sure the voice of people going hungry or fear of losing their homes are heard".