Portsmouth City Council divided over possibility of committee system

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THE CITY council was divided on the issue of switching to a new decision-making system yesterday.

On the debate of whether Portsmouth City Council should switch from a cabinet to a committee system, councillors voted 19 to 17 against looking into the scheme further.

The idea, which was previously adopted by the council during the 1990s, would see a group of cross-party councillors make decisions on topics such as transport and education, instead of one approved cabinet member making the overall decision.

Ukip group leader Councillor Colin Galloway put the motion to the council, stating that opposition members ‘do not have a voice’ at the meetings as a result of the system.

It saw the chamber split, with the Conservatives opposed to the switch, while the Liberal Democrats and independent councillors were in favour of the new system.

Labour abstained.

Opposition leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘Residents tell me that they find it bizarre when you have one cabinet member deciding.

‘It would be better to have a smaller cross-party group to give councillors a voice.’

Council leader Donna Jones said: ‘A committee system is not fit for a unitary authority given the number of decisions we have to make on a daily and weekly basis. It is not fit for purpose.

‘I invite opposition members to have their say. There is no democratic deficiency.’