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Thursday, 10 May 2012

Falling at the first hurdle

Today was the first serious test for the opposition groups with the council now in No Overal Control following the local election results last Thursday.

What united all the opposition parties during the campaign was their belief that they all could do a better job running the council than the Conservatives. As a result, the leader of the council did the honourable thing and resigned as leader of the counil giving the opposition the chance to unite around a leader and form a new council.

At the beginning of the week it was evidently clear that the Lib Dems, Labour and the Independent Party could not agree to form a coalition. This left the Conservatives with no option but to propose forming a minority administration for the good of the town.

Today the annual Mayor Making ceremony had added significance as a new leader had to be officially elected following the leaders resignation. To his credit, Independent Party councillor Ron Woodley put his head above the parapet and stood for leader against Nigel. It was always going to be forlorn as one Lib Dem didn't want to take part by going on holiday and gave his apologies. As suspected, the remainder of the Lib Dems sat on their hands with the exception of Ric Morgan who backed Ron.

One of those to sit on their hands was Lib Dem leader Graham Longley who received a personal endorsement from Ron during his election campaign. I would suspect Ron must be hopping mad that Graham didn't repay the compliment.

The Labour group had already said that they were trying to form a coalition and voted en masse for Ron. This was a curious move for newly elected Cllr Ware-Lane as only last month he criticised Ron for having a large ego but today voted for him to become Leader of the Council.

So fractured are the opposition that Ron's bid didn't even have all the support of his own party as Cllr Dr Vel abstained, although the rest did tow the party line. The simple fact is despite all the opposition claiming that they could do a better job they didn't collectively want to. Maybe they prefer sniping from the sidelines in opposition rather than taking the responsibility of power.

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