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Bob Neill (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government; Bromley and Chislehurst, Conservative)

The thrust of our localism agenda is that accountability should no longer be regarded as being from the council to Whitehall but the council to

its local community. The elected members of the local authority are there as representatives. Under our current system of leader in cabinet, an administration is formed. The ultimate political responsibility for the operation of any local authority must rest with the political leaders, of whatever complexion they may be. In the same way, Ministers must ultimately be responsible for the actions of Government, regardless of political directions. My hon. Friend is perfectly right in that regard.

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