Brexit, fossil fuel and homelessness motions miss out on debate time due to St Albans council guillotine

St Albans district council offices.

St Albans district council offices. - Credit: Archant

Debates on Brexit, temporary accommodation and fossil fuels were cancelled at a meeting of St Albans council last week.

Motions on these topics were not debated by the district council because the meeting of the full council was curtailed by a guillotine motion.

Instead, the motions and any relevant amendments were just voted on.

One of the motions, proposed by Green councillor Simon Grover, suggested writing to Herts county council to, among other things, reduce the exposure of their pension pot to companies which produce or rely on fossil fuels.

This was defeated in the council chamber and Cllr Grover remarked afterwards: “St Albans council taxpayers contribute £10 million a year into this fund.

“It’s our money Hertfordshire is risking, and their failure to have a robust investment strategy is both shocking and unacceptable.

“Yet local Conservatives don’t seem to understand this and have chosen instead to gamble their residents’ money.”

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The council passed a motion on looking into turning St Albans into a sanctuary for refugees, as well as an amended motion on replacing the business rates system.

There was some confusion about a motion on holding another referendum on the European Union, which the Conservative councillors successfully amended, which was defeated; but not after several Conservative councillors tried to vote for it and had to be told not to by their colleagues.

Cllr Robert Donald proposed a motion to stop using B&Bs as temporary accommodation for families and build more homes for homeless people, but this was also defeated.

Under council rules, councillors have to wait six months to submit the same motion again.

The leader of the council, Alec Campbell, said: “We had a corporate plan and budget which always takes a long time. There was also an extension of time on an Alban Way petition. I don’t agree that we deliberately made debates go on longer.”

He suggested that when the council discusses the next corporate plan and budget, there ought to be no motions so they have more chance of being discussed.

The corporate plan and budget were passed by councillors.