Tonight, a dramatic intervention by the soon to be new leader of B&NES that the ruling Lib Dem group will honour its manifesto promises that swept them to power two years ago.
Cllr Guy was replying to three emails he has now received from environmental campaigner Vipul Patel – concerned that recent events suggested the council might water down its commitments to cleaning up the air and tackling congestion, speeding and rat runs – after evidences of some dissension involving some Lib Dem councillors.
His reply is given in full later in this article.
Mr Patel’s intervention comes at a time when there seems to be a growing hostility to any council move to restrict city traffic in the name of cleaner air, tackling congestion, speeding, rat runs or trying to get people to exercise more by walking or cycling and – when they absolutely have to – opting for public transport rather than using their cars.
He’s very concerned that the Lib-Dem leadership stick to the Lib-Dem manifesto promises which, he says, gave them control of the council two years ago with ‘a landslide win.’
Vipul has written to me, he says, to set the record straight. This is after his original email, sent to Cllr Kevin Guy – soon to be the new Leader of B&NES – was leaked without Mr Patel being named – to another blog site.
Cllr Guy’s new appointment – due to be confirmed at a meeting next month – follows Cllr Dine Romero stepping down from the post.
It’s ironic that all of this has blown up within days of him announcing his taking over at the top. It’s also fair to say it’s stirring a political hornet’s nest with plenty of opposition members quite happy to utilise any rumour of rebellion in the Lib-Dem ranks and use against them.
NB. I can imagine the slogans before the paint is dry. Car-hating councillors who are out to destroy Bath’s commercial heart in the name of climate, environmental and ecological emergencies.
In his original email, Vipul Patel was voicing his concerns about the council being turned from its manifesto promises by ‘delaying tactics’ from a minority within the ruling group of 37 Liberal Democrat councillors.
In his message to me Vipul says:
‘I had hoped to come to you first, since you’d already raised questions about Dine’s resignation, once the administration replied to my emails but, not surprisingly, someone has leaked the emails to a Conservative leaning (I think) blogger.
The blogger has got things wrong, though the gist of the piece is copied from my emails – see attached.
I have just written to Kevin Guy again asking for a reply:
I’m disappointed not to have heard from you considering the seriousness of this, and urge you to respond urgently as someone has leaked to a local blogger.’
Further down his message to me he says:
‘If this is of interest, please do feel free to get in touch and use the emails attached as it would be good to set the record straight.
Amongst other things I’m not a LD member – I am a Green Party member, but I wrote this in my more significant capacity as a very active environmentalist running and involved with numerous groups.’
Vipul copied that second email to Cllr Kevin Guy to me – which l now print in full.
NB. I have protected the identity of two individuals who have made contact with him – as Vipul Patel has not indicated that he has their permission to name them.
Apart from that – here is that second email to Cllr Guy in full.
Well, tonight Cllr Guy – who is the new leader in waiting – replied to Mr Patel.
‘There is no truth at all that we are deserting our manifesto promises. We did the most thorough and inclusive process to pull the manifesto together, and were rewarded with the best result ever in BANES.This is both an honour, and a responsibility. Our residents should have confidence in us delivering against our ambitious climate emergency targets, council housing, and being a listening council.
Anyone who says otherwise does not know what the LibDem administration is going to deliver.
Specifically in answer to your questions.
1. The results of the recent Active Travel consultation will be honoured, without any delay if it is in favour of the schemes.
The consultation results are yet to be worked through given the volume of responses. Once they are, they will be shared with the cabinet, and decisions on how to proceed will be made in a public cabinet meeting, currently scheduled to be our May meeting.
2. The serious harm done to the democratic process by the deliberate disinformation and interference by King Edward’s School and your own councillors will be explained, addressed, and factored into the result.
We are confident that both KES and the university gave their statements as large organisations based on one of the Active Travel route proposals, as is their right. There is nothing any local councillor said on the matter that did not go through an approval process and we reject the assertion that deliberate disinformation was put out from that source. As a listening council, in any consultation, it is important that different views are heard.
3. The entire Liberal Democrat administration and Party will honour their electoral commitments and promises made, pursuing them wholeheartedly and without further guile.
As said up front, we fully intend to honour our electoral promises, and would urge anyone who supports our aims to work with us. We need to ensure all monies are invested well, and that all schemes deliver the benefits our community, and indeed our environment needs.”