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West is kicked off Bournemouth council committee
AN OUTSPOKEN councillor who accused Bournemouth council of “hiding” a damning auditors’ report has been kicked off the audit and governance committee.
Cllr Roger West, one of only two Liberal Democrat councillors on the Tory-controlled council, was the subject of a vote at full council.
The move, carried by four votes to three, was brought by Labour group leader Cllr Ben Grower who claimed Cllr West had consistently “undermined” other committee members by pursuing his own political agenda.
The row, after a Daily Echo story about the council’s use of consultants, had echoes of a similar dispute five years ago when Cllr West was removed from his position as chairman of a scrutiny panel after speaking out about swathes of shingle on Southbourne beach.
Cllr Grower accused Cllr West, pictured below, of making “irresponsible comments” and he was the subject of a vote of no-confidence, although he received plenty of public support.
After making the latest move, backed by deputy chairman of the audit and governance committee Cllr Nick King , Cllr Grower said: “Since joining the committee last May, Cllr West has shown that he is unable to work in conjunction with other members and wishes to pursue his own agenda.
“It’s not a political committee. Some of us don’t feel that using the audit and governance committee to further that aim is correct.”
Speaking after the vote, Cllr West told the Daily Echo: “I’m angry and very disappointed. I passionately believe in a democratic society. As locally elected councillors, we should be able to speak our minds.
“It’s not political; it’s all about open democracy.
“It’s scandalous if elected members are kept in the dark about important papers which should have been released a long time ago.”
He added: “The reason the move was carried was that so many of the Tories abstained.
“All I was doing was highlighting something which had been kept under wraps.”