A letter, copied below, from today’s Sidmouth Herald (22/09/17), explains:
Disbelief at ‘no confidence vote’
The issue of no confidence in EDDC Leader Paul Diviani is nothing new, as the 4,000 people who took part in the SOS Mass March to Knowle, nearly 5 years ago, would agree. (Nov 3rd, 2012, photos archived on http://www.saveoursidmouth.com). How is it, then, that the ‘Motion against East Devon District Council leader’ failed’ (Sidmouth Herald, 15/09/17)?
Paul Diviani had, according to a senior Conservative colleague, clearly broken trust with the District Council. At the County Health Scrutiny Committee, the EDDC Leader had failed to represent his own Council’s unanimous (i.e. cross-party) recommendation that hospital bedcuts should stop until an effective alternative had been shown to be in place. His contrary vote had influenced the outcome at the DCC, the only body capable of statutory action, thereby apparently betraying not just his own Council, but the people of East Devon that they represent. This left the Tory group of District Councillors “caught between a rock and a hard place”, as Cathy Gardner (EDDC Ward Member Sidmouth Town, East Devon Alliance) reminded them, at the Extra Ordinary Meeting at Knowle (13/09/17).
But all the Tory Councillors present (just one abstained), did an extraordinary thing. To the disbelief of the public crammed into the Council Chamber, they turned the debate away from their uncomfortable Leader’s conduct, and onto problems with the National Health Service. Then, in voting against the Motion of No Confidence in the Leader, they effectively blockvoted against their own unanimous recommendation regarding NHS problems and bedcuts, taken just a few weeks’ earlier. The sort of thing, and Leader, that brings a Council into disrepute?