Liberal Democrat county councillors have slammed a deal done behind closed doors between the Conservative and Labour groups on Warwickshire County Council, which has resulted in the Conservatives taking minority control of the Council while Labour has grabbed all the key committee chair roles.
The elections on 2nd May had left the Council in No Overall Control, with Conservatives the largest political group but well short of an overall majority.
Recognising that no one political group had a democratic mandate from Warwickshire’s voters, the Liberal Democrats had proposed a “rainbow coalition” administration drawn from the three main political groups, working to a jointly agreed programme to address the huge challenges facing the County Council over the next four years.
However, the Liberal Democrat proposal was voted down by an alliance of Conservative and Labour members. Instead, Labour chose to abstain on the Conservative proposal, allowing the formation of a minority administration with a Conservative-only Cabinet. History is repeating itself – Labour did exactly the same in 2009 to let the Conservatives push through their budget in the face of Liberal Democrat opposition!
What has Labour gained from this unholy alliance? They’ve been allowed to take all the chairs’ roles on all the key committees, an even more undemocratic outcome than the last time a similar situation arose in 2005, when at least the chairs’ roles were shared proportionately between the main opposition groups.
Cllr Jerry Roodhouse, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said:
“This Tory/Labour deal is bad for Warwickshire, and does not reflect the democratic will of voters. The County is left with a weak, minority administration, at a time when it faces huge challenges and needs to take important decisions to shape a long-term sustainable future.
“The Conservatives will have to negotiate issue-by-issue with the other parties in order to get anything done. Between them, the Tories and Labour have ensured that No Overall Control has become No Overall Direction for Warwickshire.”