- On Wednesday, Manchester saw its first council meeting with an opposition for two years.
- Councillor John Leech, questioned the council on the recent closure of the Brian Hore Unit, access for disabled persons on pavements and eroded rights under council-to-housing association transfers.
- Richard Leese, Manchester Council Leader, was quick to interrupt Leech in a bid to silence his scrutiny questioning.
On Wednesday, Manchester council saw its first council meeting with an opposition for two years. John Leech questioned the closure of the Brian Hore Unit, the concerns of road safety, access for disabled persons on pavements and the eroded rights of tenants since the council's transfer of accommodation to a housing association.
However, Council Leader Richard Leese, was quick to quieten down the opposition interrupting Councillor Leech's supplementary questions.
Leese sniped: "There is a right to ask a question. Then there is a right to ask a supplementary question, not what appears to be half a dozen supplementary questions."
The questions come as John Leech took to his first council meeting since his landslide victory last week, breaking Labour's total grip on the council.
Lease's comment on Wednesday followed a series of questions from John Leech regarding the Brian Hore Unit, a service for recovering alcoholics, which recently closed.
This is not the first time Richard Leese has publicly scolded John Leech. Last week when asked to describe Leech's victory, Leese described the candidate as "scurrilous".
John Leech's full question queried: "After the Council claimed in Court that services for recovering alcoholics who had remained sober for more than six months would be maintained, CRI were forced into hurriedly providing services that they had never intended to provide. What is the estimated additional cost of these services, has the Council been asked for additional resources to provide these services? And what guarantees are there that these services will be maintained in the long term, and finally what scrutiny is planned by the council as to the effectiveness of these alternative services?"
Councillor Andrews, to whom Councillor Leech's questions were directed could not answer, but has promised to investigate and report back to the council when he knows more.
Later in the meeting, rather than committing to a review of tenants’ rights and to honouring promises made by the council at the point of council house transfers, Deputy Leader Councillor Priest instead took the opportunity to ridicule John Leech’s core-team.
John Leech has committed to continue pressing the council for more information on both issues.