Looking good at the Green Summit
CAMDEN Council’s new Labour ruling group are burrowing their way through a list of manifesto pledges – but is less haste needed? Staging a Green Summit is on the things-to-do list and the chosen date is just around the corner already, July 17. The day is where the council will show just how much it is connecting with the community and openly discussing how we can all work together for a more sustainable future.
But the regulation-checkers at the council are wondering about whether the prickly old election purdah rules might come into play here. The event will be less than a week before voters in Frognal take part in a by-election on July 22 to find a councillor to take on Martin Davies’s seat. And some are saying it could be argued that non-partisan council officers will be working on an event that will showcase, indirectly at least, Labour in a good light, meeting promises, promoting the party’s sustainability policies etc etc
Here’s one dictionary definition of purdah: ‘The time between the announcement of an election, during which any governmental activities that may be construed as potentially benefiting or promoting a specific political party or prospective candidate are halted or suspended.”
It’s one for the lawyers up at the Camden Town Hall to figure out.
Well, not really. It depends if it has anything to do with the particular ward.
During the Haverstock by-election a couple of years ago, Labour complained (rightly) of Town hall interference from council surveys in the ward (a) asking epople how they could feel safer with extra police and (b) outlining the benefits of their decent homes programme.
The latter was stopped by the Chief Executive.
The issue is more that this is being rushed simply to meet an arbitrary Labour election manifesto commitment (an easy one to keep) and is being held on a day just ahead of school holidays when it clashes with the long established Swiss Cottage Festival.