Jan Powell joins the Lib Dems 17 June, 2011Posted by Jeremy Rowe in News.
Tags: Conservatives, Cornwall Council, Health, Lib Dems
Jan Powell, the widely respected Chair of Cornwall Council’s Health Committee, has joined the Liberal Democrat Group at County Hall. This has been as a result of the continuing disintegration of the Tory-led administration at the Council and also the work the Lib Dems have been doing locally and nationally to protect the NHS from Andrew Lansley’s controversial ‘reforms’.
Having had a number of discussions with Jan over the past few weeks I know that this has not been a decision she has taken lightly. In her own words:
The recent actions of the Leader have made my position within the Conservative Group untenable and I have been left with no option but to seek support from a party through whom I can make my voice heard and properly represent the electors who voted me in.
The Leader of the Council has become remote from rank and file members of all parties and has marginalised councillors from the democratic process. The choices he makes always seem to be those most damaging to Cornwall and are not the choices I campaigned on, notwithstanding the tight financial restraints the Council is operating under. An example of this was the ill-informed attack on the Supporting People programme and was the principle reason why I voted against the administration’s budget this year.
There has to be openness and transparency in everything we do and consultation must mean exactly that. Over the last 12 months there has been a marked contrast between the behind-closed-doors approach of Cornwall’s Tory leadership and the open-minded, people people-first outlook of the Council’s Liberal Democrats.
The people of Cornwall rightly expect us to do our best to protect the services they value so highly and I’m very much looking forward to making a start on the vital work needed to put things right at County Hall. There are particular concerns over the Tory proposals for the NHS and I have been impressed with the Liberal Democrat drive for a fundamental rethink. The whole issue requires careful and structured scrutiny with proper emphasis to protect – not privatise – our world-respected National Health Service.
Jan’s move will once again leave her free to represent her electorate without the restraints imposed by the dictatorial leadership cabal in the top floor bunker at County Hall, and she will continue to work in the manner she has always done on the Health Committee – inclusively and with an open mind.