Party leaders demand answers from ‘antidemocratic’ West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin for failing to attend Wakefield Council meeting

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin has been branded “antidemocratic” over repeated failures to attend a question and answer session in front of Wakefield councillors.

By Tony Gardner
Friday, 22nd July 2022, 11:18 am

Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders all criticised Ms Brabin’s absence at a full Council meeting, where she had been expected to attend to take questions from elected members.

The meeting was told Ms Brabin could not attend as she was involved in a project shaping the future of West Yorkshire bus services.

Previous meetings designed to hold Ms Brabin to account have also been cancelled.She has yet to attend a full Wakefield Council meeting since being elected in May last year.

Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders all criticised Ms Brabin’s absence at a Wakefield Council meeting.

Council Leader Denise Jeffery told the meeting: “Tracy Brabin cannot actually attend today, which is disappointing.

“Tracy is having what she’s calling the ‘Big Bus Chat’, and it is particularly relevant to Wakefield, because we are struggling with the bus situation in Wakefield more than the rest of West Yorkshire, so I hope we can all get on board with that.”

Liberal Democrat leader Tom Gordon said: “It is disappointing that Tracy Brabin has failed, not for the first time, to attend council today.

“I was one of the biggest critics of the devolution deal.

Wakefield Council's Conservative group leader accused Tracy Brabin of being 'antidemocratic' for failing to attend the local authority's meetings

“We have now been lumbered with a mayor who is in office but not in power.

“She won’t even show up to come here and answer questions.

“We were told that part of the agreement was that she would come here to be held to account and she has consistently failed to do that, despite being in office for over a year.

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Councillors in Wakefield were told West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin could not attend a meeting because she was involved in the 'Big Bus Chat'.

Coun Gordon asked Coun Jeffery: “Can you give assurance that Tracy will be rescheduling to come and that she will be making it a priority?”

“You have mentioned that Tracy is keen on buses.

“There has not been a great visible profile of her trying to mediate in the current strikes.

“That is disappointing. She was elected in a campaign based around solving bus issues.

“It’s all good and well saying there are £2 bus fares, but that’s no good if there are no buses.”

Coun Jeffery replied: “I have made the point to Tracy that we are very disappointed that she could not attend.

“Wakefield did not want a mayor. I said that many times and I did campaign for a while not to have an elected mayor when it was first proposed a few years ago.

“There is a lot of work to do and Tracy is aware of that and I have made our feelings known, as a council, that she needs to come here and convince us, the people of Wakefield, that it was the right thing to do to go for a mayor.”

Conservative group leader Tony Homewood got his soap opera knowledge confused when he said: “The idea of a regional mayor was that it enhanced democracy in some way.

“But it seems that this one is completely antidemocratic and doesn’t want to turn up here.

“It seems that the only qualification she has for being mayor is that she used to be in Crossroads or something…Coronation Street, sorry, I’ve never watched any of them so I wouldn’t know.”

Coun Homewood continued: “Quite seriously, I don’t think any more excuses are acceptable and I think, really, you (Coun Jeffery) need to lean on her and make sure she turns up here.”

Lib Dem councillor Pete Girt said: “It might be an idea if the leaders of the main political parties send a joint letter to Tracy Brabin letting her know in the strongest terms how disappointed we are that she fails to keep turning up.

“That way it doesn’t look like it’s just one political party having a pop at her – it is us as a council.

“By not turning up all the time she has insulted not just one party.”