Our bid to suspend the Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTNs) trial and a no-confidence vote in Council Leader Julian Bell was defeated at an extraordinary council meeting this past Tuesday (October 20th).
After two and a half hours of debate between councillors, the Labour run council voted as a majority against both challenges.
Speaking on the impact of the LTNs, petition organiser Lorna O'Driscoll made a concise and eloquent plea to councillors to listen to the near 10,000 residents that had signed a petition against the LTNs.
Lorna said that "opposition was anything but nimbyism or anti-progress and that the issues they describe are impacting real peoples lives. Put aside your political allegiances, think about the elderly and the disabled, the protected characteristics of all those that should have been taken into account and consulted before their lives were turned upside down and do the right thing. Reset a proper consultation, work with the people of Ealing, not against us.
As the main local opposition, we as a Conservative group have conducted our own consultation of residents over the LTNs, showing it would have been possible for the council to collect views quickly before rolling out the changes this summer.
Our Conservative Group Leader Cllr Gregory Stafford, noted that our survey has received 1,000 responses in 10 days with 93% of people against the plans. The motion was defeated by those Labour councillors who decided to attend the meeting, while as a Conservative group we voted in favour.
Secondly we brought forward a vote of no confidence in Council Leader Julian Bell, following an attempt in September within the Ealing Labour Party, amongst his own colleagues to remove him as leader. This was narrowly defeated 28 votes to 27, highlighting the huge divisions and instability within the current council.
Cllr Gregory Stafford said "This should be a straight forward motion tonight because we know that a few weeks ago 27 Labour members voted to remove Cllr Bell and he was saved by 1 vote, presumably his own one, with the Conservative and Lib Dem votes this evening this should pass easily. If those 27 members don't vote for this motion tonight, then residents will rightly view them as spineless. The reason we have brought this motion tonight is because this council has stopped listening to residents".
Cllr Stafford pointed to the closure of the Gurnell swimming pool, the sell-off of the Victoria Hall and the Southall gasworks to name just a few examples of this council's total inability to listen to residents.
Council Leader Julian Bell chose not to defend his position at any point during the debate. Despite Labour's huge internal row, all of the Labour councillors present cynically continued to support Cllr Bell in his position as leader, in what for many was a glaring u-turn for party political reasons. Due to this, our motion was subsequently defeated. We will continue to work tirelessly to stand up for all those across Ealing who are being ignored and forgotten by this current Labour administration.