Labour Councillors last night voted through changes to the planning committee that were introduced in such a way as to deliberately exclude the Welsh Liberal Democrat Alliance group from taking up a seat on that committee.
In recent years the planning committee has consisted of all members of the Council. However, following a review by the Corporate Services Committee and changes being made in planning regulations it was recommended that a much smaller planning committee should be set up.
Coporate Services members made no firm decision on the size of the planning committee but suggested no more than 21 members. When it was put before Councillors last night the suggestion put forward and accepted by Labour Councillors was that there should be only 18 members.
The committee will be 'politically balanced' in other words each group will be allocated a number of seats according to the total number of Councillors in that group. Had the committee been increased by just one then the Alliance group would have had a seat.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell says the move is politically motivated and an affront to democracy.
"Plaid Cymru and Independent members of the Corporate Services Committee stated quite categorically that they did not suggest nor agree with a committee consisting of 18 members and asked that it be increased to give all groups representation.
"The Labour group of course didn't want to listen. Democracy is an anathema to them. The reason for the size of this committee being set at 18 is nothing to do with expediency of efficiency it is merely to exclude one section of the opposition.
"If this is an example of the actions of the new leader and his Cabinet then we can be certain that the Labour administration will continue to rule with the same arrogant and dictatorial manner we have seen thus far. "