Motion against East Devon District Council leader fails

PUBLISHED: 10:30 14 September 2017

Cllr Paul Diviani

Cllr Paul Diviani

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A motion of no confidence against the leader of East Devon District Council (EDDC) has been defeated.

At an extraordinary meeting of the Conservative majority council, the motion against Conservative Councillor Paul Diviani lost by 31 votes to 18.

The motion had said Cllr Diviani should go because, at a Devon County Council Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee meeting, he voted, as a county councillor, not to refer hospital bed closures in East Devon to the Secretary of State.

Opponents said this went against a previous EDDC vote to oppose bed closures, and that although Cllr Diviani had said he also spoke for other district councils via the Devon District Forum, he then admitted not consulting them.

However, Cllr Diviani said that in his county council role he had ‘discretion to think independently’ and was not ‘constrained solely by decisions of EDDC’.

He also said he retained the Devon District Forum’s ‘full support’ in ‘exercising my own judgement’.

He added: “The chief executive of EDDC made it perfectly clear what members’ views were, and in my opinion did not require repetition.”

Cllr Diviani said he did not think any proposed alternatives to the bed closures were ‘robust enough’ for referral, adding: “In my view a referral would only delay the inevitable, jeopardise care, increase costs and delay necessary change.”

Proposing the motion of no confidence, Councillor Ben Ingham said: “Cllr Diviani failed us in a way that humiliated this council and our communities, when we needed him to stand up for us and fight our corner.

“He failed to represent the overwhelming opinion of district councillors.

“He failed to protect the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable people living in East Devon.”

Seconding the motion, Councillor Val Ranger said: “We relied on Paul Diviani to voice the views of this council at the committee. Paul Diviani has let this council and residents of East Devon down badly and should resign.”

Supporting Cllr Diviani, Councillor Tom Wright said: “He has led us through very challenging times very successfully.”

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