Thursday, June 12, 2008

Back at the by-election we are fighting ...

Lots of excitement here in Thame today due to media coverage of the Conservative candidate's links with property developers. (An issue because he is making a big play of the Green Belt issue.)

Peter Henley of BBC South news has been here to do an interview on the subject.

Once again we've had a good turnout and we are shifting piles of literature.

We've also had more MPs today - including Sandra Gidley, Andrew Stunnell and David Howarth.

We're looking forward to another visit from Nick Clegg over the weekend.

One of the best things about by-elections for me is that I bump into so many of the councillors and activists I know from across the country.

It's a great atmosphere here - do come and join in.

1 comment:

andrewha said...

Cllr Howell’s work for property developers Savills Hepher Dixon is definitely not listed on the online statement of register of interests, which I presume is up to date.

That document is available here:
http://portal.oxfordshire.gov.uk/content/publicnet/council_services/about_your_council/councillors/councillors_conduct/howellv4.pdf

It may be, of course, that Cllr Howell believes that listing his own lobbying/conultancy companies in the register covers his statutory duties. Does anyone know, as a matter of legal fact, whether that would be sufficient?

I’m sure Cllr Howell cannot have had any intention to pull the wool over the eyes of his constituents, surely. But what is certainly true is that such an arrangement is much more opaque than it could be in informing his constituents for whom he lobbies & when. I think that significant questions remain for Cllr Howell. It would be in his interest to come completely clean on his links with big property developers. Including:
1. Which “large & contentious” developments has he lobbied for and where are they?
2. Who has he lobbied? For example, do they include any colleagues on Oxfordshire County Council or Conservative councillors in neighbouring authorities?
3. He says that he has not lobbied for development on green belt land in Oxfordshire. But has he ever lobbied for or offered consultancy on planning/development on other developments within Oxfordshire? If so, where & when?
4, Specifically, given that Savills Hepher Dixon clients include a large supermarket chain, has he ever lobbied for large out-of-town shopping developments? The small shopkeepers & their customers in Henley deserve to know before casting their ballots.

I think that the LibDem candidate should keep pursuing John Howell. Possibly an open letter to Cllr Howell setting out the questions he needs to answer?