AN EXTRAORDINARY meeting of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council on Thursday night descended into 'chaos' as councillors clashed over appointments to various council committees.

Leader of the newly-formed Basingstoke and Deane Independents, Councillor Ian Tilbury, called the last-minute changes presented by the Conservatives as a "quite appalling case of mal-administration".

He was upset that an amendment was put forward by Tory Cllr Nick Robinson, calling on the BDIs to lose a seat on Development Control (DC) and gain one on Scrutiny. It would see the Conservative group gaining a DC seat and losing one on Scrutiny.

Looking towards the Conservative benches, Cllr Tilbury said: "You've wasted our time, we shouldn't even be here tonight.

"I walked past a homeless person on the way here tonight, and we're here squabbling.

"You wonder why people have lost faith in politicians. You must really ought to be ashamed of yourself. Look at them, what a mess."

Responding, Cllr Ken Rhatigan, Leader of the Council and the Conservative group, said: "There has been a massive loss of faith in politics, mainly because people voted Labour and got independents, they're appalled at that situation.

"The issues of proportionality have altered because BDI can't keep their people in check. We're not trying to surprise you on this, we have talked it through, we had the opportunity to look at the make-up of these committees."

As previously reported in the Gazette, a number of Labour and Independent councillors formed a new group, the Basingstoke and Deane Independents, following the general election.

This has led to the committees, such as Scrutiny and DC, no longer reflecting the make-up of the council, which had to be rectified.

Crunch meetings had been held between all the leaders of the political groups in the council over the Christmas period to come up with the new committee make-ups, which were presented to the full council on Thursday.

However, the amendment by Cllr N Robinson, was presented to the BDIs "at the eleventh hour", according to deputy leader Cllr Paul Harvey.

Cllr Andy McCormick, who leads the Labour group which supported the amendment, said: "I don't see how having the majority of the administration will impact the work of the committee. For BDI's information, they'll get an additional seat on Scrutiny."

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat group leader, Cllr Gavin James, opposed the proposal, saying: "I knew nothing about this. [The Conservatives] don't have the confidence of the public, they lost their majority [following a by-election in November which saw now-BDI Cllr Chris Tomblin elected and the Conservative's lose their voting majority]."

The new committees passed a vote, with 50 yes votes, four no, four abstentions, and two non-voters.

New committee make-ups:

Economic, Planning, Housing: CON 6, LAB 2, IND 2, LDM 2

Community Environment, Partnerships: CON 6, LAB 3, IND 2, LDM 1

Manydown Overview: CON 5, LAB 2, IND 1, LDM 1

Scrutiny: CON 5, LAB 3, IND 3, LDM 1

Development Control: CON 6, LAB 3, IND 2, LDM 1

Licensing: CON 6, LAB 2, IND 2, LDM 2

Human Resources: CON 4, LAB 2, IND 2, LDM 1

Audit and Accounts: CON 5, LAB 2, IND 2, LDM 1

Investigating and Disciplinary: CON 3, LAB 1, IND 1, LDM 1