Devon County Council has called on the Secretary of State to think again and not to rush in to sign the order to create a new unitary authority for Exeter.
The House of Lords did not break with Parliamentary convention to reject the Orders outright. However, they strongly backed a motion calling on the Government to urgently reconsider.
A motion of “regret” tabled by the independent ex-High Court judge baroness Butler-Sloss was agreed with a large majority and calls on the Government to withdraw the Exeter plan and carry out further consultation. This motion makes it clear that the plan for Exeter “does not comply with the Government’s published criteria with respect to affordability” and had been laid before Parliament without the extra evidence needed to show it was likely to achieve the declared policy objective.
Irrespective of the Secretary of State’s decision, Devon and Norfolk County Councils will continue their legal challenge in the High Court set for April 28 and 29.