TWO resignations in a row since the May council elections, including that of the former Leader, are bad enough.

But with yet another resignation while Bury South MP Ivan Lewis remains suspended from the Labour Party, it seems a pretty fair assumption that Bury Labour is going through troubled times.

Whatever the reasons for Cllr Annette McKay’s sudden resignation from the Labour Party (Bury Times, September 6) ­— whose allegations of bullying appear to have been dismissed by the national Labour Party ­— this chain of worrying events confirms Bury Greens long-standing view that Bury needs a more open, transparent and democratic council in the way it manages our local services.

Some of us have been actively engaged in local politics long enough to recall how the council was run before the “strong leader” model was adopted in 2011.

Under Derek Boden’s administration, for instance, active members of our borough’s lively civic society were positively welcome to take part in committee meetings and played an important role in the exercise of public scrutiny.

Community and environmental groups were also actively encouraged to engage in a wide range of consultations, such as those under Agenda 21.

Many of the ideas and policies emerging from those workshops and discussions fed directly into key budget decisions and major planning decisions.

All that went by the wayside when the council adopted Tony Blair’s model of governance and the newly elected leader started appointing his cabinet.

Under this autocratic system, the leader is responsible for all executive functions and has the power to appoint the cabinet which can be as small as two members.

The leader also allocates portfolios to individual Cabinet Members.

As a result of this regime ruthlessly implemented for seven years, it was pretty inevitable that the closed culture created by such a model of governance could lead to intimidation, arm twisting and allow bullying to take place behind closed doors.

One can’t help wondering if such deeply flawed decisions as the brutal and short sighted closure of our youth centres as well as the inexcusable destruction of Bury Central Library to make room for a third-rate sculpture centre would indeed have been approved by Labour councillors had the council been run in the more open and transparent model of governance.

Bury Greens will therefore keep on campaigning for the scrapping of the strong leader model of governance and for reinstating full powers to the council committees and scrutiny committees model.

Oddly enough, neither the energetic Conservative opposition nor the Lib-Dems seem to be keen to challenge Labour on this. One can’t help wondering why.

Nicole Haydock

Bury Green Party