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Southwark Cllr Gavin Edwards ‘unfit for public office’

28 August 2015

Save Southwark Woods has today written to Cllr Gavin Edwards to request his resignation as a councillor unfit for public office.

Labour-controlled Southwark council says its Overview & Scrutiny Committee (OSC) is to investigate the council’s proposals to destroy acres of woodland and excavate hundreds of graves at Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries, for burial plots.

The chair of the OSC is Labour Councillor Gavin Edwards.

Cllr Gavin Edwards - Peckham Rye Councillor - Chair of Southwark's Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Cllr Gavin Edwards – Peckham Rye Councillor – Chair of Southwark’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee

Dear Cllr Edwards,

Your resignation, following actions regarding development proposals at Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries

Save Southwark Woods understands you currently chair Southwark council’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee, which SSW has been invited to make representation to on 17th September.

We are writing to state that not only are you unfit to chair the Overview & Scrutiny Committee, you are unfit for public office.

  1. You, Council Leader Peter John, Cllr Darren Merrill responsible for the proposals, and Ward Councillor Victoria Mills all hid vital information from the council assembly sham ‘debate’ on July 8th – (a) Council ‘heard’ a petition from over 8,500 people to make the Cemeteries Nature Reserves – rejected – (b) Council also ‘debated’ a Liberal Democrat motion to call council proposals in for investigation – rejected – But the council had already applied to Southwark Diocese for planning permission – a fact you hid from the council assembly.
  2. You voted with the rest of the Labour Party against the huge public petition, and Lib Dem motion to investigate proposals. How can you now chair a committee charged with that investigation, when you don’t believe it is necessary?
  3. The Cemeteries are in Peckham Rye Ward – your own Ward
  4. How can a Labour-controlled council’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee, chaired by a Labour councillor, hold a Labour council to account? Who guards the guards?

Until recently, Southwark’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee was chaired by a Liberal Democrat councillor, to guard against corruption.

According to Southwark’s website, the OSC is required to follow due democratic process:

“OSC examines and monitors the performance of services provided by the council and other agencies.”

You, however, have shown contempt for the democratic process, and yourself unfit for public office. Save Southwark Woods calls for you to resign, not just as Chair of the OSC, but from your role as a councillor.

Save Southwark Woods calls on Council Leader Peter John to appoint a Liberal Democrat or Conservative Councillor as chair of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee.


Blanche Cameron

for Save Southwark Woods