MP calls for sacking of review chairman: Local government commission chief 'making wrong decisions'

THE CHAIRMAN of the parliamentary select committee on the environment last night demanded the resignation of Sir John Banham, who is chairing the review of local government in England.

Robert Jones, Tory MP for Hertfordshire West, said: 'My personal view is that he should go. He is making the wrong decisions, and he is the wrong person and he should go.'

He accused Sir John, chairman of the Local Government Commission for England, of being a 'prima donna', responsible for 'ridiculous' decisions.

The commission is reviewing the two-tier structure of district and county councils. In October, Sir John gave evidence to the parliamentary select committee. The committee, which is still hearing evidence about the review, has decided to publish minutes of evidence containing verbatim records of the questioning of Sir John, and also of David Curry, the local government minister.

Mr Jones said that the committee wanted to place on record 'an exchange between the committee and those with primary responsibility for the conduct of the review, in order to clear the air and inform the ongoing debate. We are publishing the minutes of evidence without further comment; the frank exchanges speak for themselves'.

But last night, Mr Jones went further. He said that at the select committee hearing, in October: 'Sir John Banham and Mr (Martin) Easteal (chief executive) were all over the place, contradicting each other and themselves and rubbishing the Government.' Mr Jones criticised Sir John's proposals for Derbyshire and Durham, which he said were inconsistent with each other, and added: 'I am quite clear that man has to go. I do not think we will get a clear approach . . . so long as John Banham is in the job.'

Sir John said last night: 'Unless I am invited to stand down by ministers, which I have not been, I intend to see this through until the end of next year. It is a very difficult job, with a lot of vested interests, and a great deal of prejudice. We have interviewed 25,000 people, and heard from 155,000 people directly.'

The commission was listening to local people, he said.

Meanwhile, two councils have made separate moves to ask the High Court to intervene in the review. The decisions to involve the courts will hold up the local government review.

Both Lancashire and Derbyshire county councils argue that the Government has exceeded its powers by changing its guidance to the commission once it had started its work.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific