Friday, June 16, 2017

Labour and Lib/Dems to propose new county administration

Cumbria County Council issued the following statement this afternoon:

"New political adminstration agreed.
Agreement has been reached between the Labour and Liberal Democrat Groups to form an administration, with Cllr Stewart Young as Leader of the Council and Cllr Ian Stewart as Deputy Leader of the Council. There will be 6 Labour Members on the Cabinet and 4 Liberal Democrat Members - the same split as in the previous administration. The Portfolio Holders will be announced at the Council meeting which is due to take place on 29th June."
The Conservative group on the council, who received more votes than the Labour and Lib/Dems combined, had proposed an all party "rainbow coalition" administration.
However, two parties placed second and third in seats and votes, despite not quite having a majority between them (in fact they have exactly half the seats) have decided to put forward a minority administration for Cumbria excluding the largest party, and hope to sneak in if one or more of the five Independent councillors abstains or vote for them.
There is a good chance that they will get this through the County Council meeting on the 29th June but it is going to be a recipe for chaos and division, and I suspect that this stitch-up may not last the four years. This is blatantly not what the people of the county voted for and I think the majority of electors would expect councillors of all parties to work together.
Cumbria County Council has 84 members so a working majority is 43 county councillors. Labour and the Lib/Dems have 42 between them.
The composition of the council by party group is
Conservatives:   37 seats having received 62,696 votes (44.3%)
Labour:              26 seats having received 37,276 votes (26.3%)
Lib/Dems:          16 seats having received 25,308 votes (17.9%)
The combined Labour and Lib/Dem vote was therefore 62,584 votes (44.2%) 
There are also 5 Independent county councillors, Independent candidates having received a total of 7,797 votes (5.5%) and a further 4% and 2% respectively of total votes cast around the county went to Green and UKIP candidates. 

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