Is Peterborough City Council’s executive pay award ultra vires or not?

Spectators Gallery sign in Peterborough Town Hall showing the way up four flights of stairs

Spectators Gallery sign in Peterborough Town Hall showing the way up four flights of stairs

Last night full council refused to discuss the executive pay award which Cllr Ed Murphy (LAB) raised as a comment on the minutes.  Ed claims the award has a dating problem and could therefore have been made ultra vires.

I was so stunned by the way this was handled by the new mayor (legal advice or comment was not even sought) that I missed the exact words of the dismissal, but it was dismissed in about four words.  Could have been “You can’t have that.”  Over so quickly.

Basically from the Spectators Gallery our council appeared not interested last night in defending itself in public against a charge it may have acted “beyond its powers”, i.e. unconstitutionally.  Not only that, but on one of the most politically contentious areas of its responsibility: executive pay being a marker for escalating levels of inequality in society and in our organisations.

Whereas various councillors sprang to support Harrington’s dismissed second motion (which by then was history), not a single councillor supported Ed Murphy’s assertion (either properly at the time or subsequently by way of solidarity or rhetorical effect – both options being wide open to them).

It seems to me that there are at least three possible explanations:


Which is it?  Or is there another?

So glad I’m not the minutes secretary!


Music for a Summer’s Evening Thursday 26th June 2014, 7pm

Castle Acre Concert

St James the Great, Stocks Green, Castle Acre, Norfolk, PE32 2AA

download poster:  castle acre concert

sharable link:  

Seeing Green at Railworld: please register your interest

Seeing GreenThis event (originally blogged here on 1st May) has not happened yet.  Jack Ginns came to talk to Peterborough in Transition on Monday evening and explained how sustainability was central to his enthusiasm for engineering and for transport and he discussed the history of Railworld in Peterborough and the Reverend Richard Paten’s conception of a centre for sustainable transport and lifestyles on the Railworld site.

It turned out that the initial idea Jack had had for a meeting about sustainability had grown into an all day event and that he was considering maybe splitting the themes into more, smaller events.  So if you’d like to register your interest at what is still a future event or a series of future events, please send Jack your email address and he will add you to his mailing list.