All change as end of an era for council

By Juliette MaxamTHE Labour Party relinquished last night its hold over Ipswich Borough Council after 25 years in charge.At a meeting of the full council, the Labour-run executive resigned and was replaced by an administration of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

By Juliette Maxam

THE Labour Party relinquished last night its hold over Ipswich Borough Council after 25 years in charge.

At a meeting of the full council, the Labour-run executive resigned and was replaced by an administration of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

The new leader of the council is Dale Jackson, leader of the Conservative group, and the deputy leader is fellow Tory, Liz Harsant.

Liberal Democrats Inga Lockington, Richard Atkins and Jane Chambers are now members of the executive, as is Labour's Peter Gardiner.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Jackson said: “We look forward to working together for the people of Ipswich.

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“Over the last two local elections, Labour have lost a bit of ground, with two-thirds of people voting against Labour. We feel it's right for us to take over.”

He added the major issues the council would be looking at were council tax, transport and leisure.

Mrs Lockington said: “Both the Tory group and our group would like to see how we can work so that people who are backbench councillors feel they have more say in what goes on.”

She added: “I would like all three political parties to work together.”

Earlier this month the Liberal Democrats rejected an invitation from Labour to join the administration and entered a power-sharing agreement with the Conservatives.

The Lib Dems were furious when Labour used the casting vote of the mayor to take advantage of the absence of two opposition councillors to keep control of the council in June, despite heavy losses to both opposition parties in the local elections.

With 23 councillors out of a total of 48, Labour urged the seven Lib Dems to join them, but the other parties decided to club together to end Labour's quarter century of rule in the town.

The composition of the council is Conservatives 17 councillors (plus 1 suspended), Labour 23 and Liberal Democrats seven.

The new look and executive and portfolios are: leader of the council, Dale Jackson; deputy leader, housing portfolio, Liz Harsant; safer and cleaner portfolio, Paul West; finance, HR and performance, John Carnall; culture and leisure, Judy Terry; environment and transport, Inga Lockington; planning and economic development, Richard Atkins; non-portfolio members, Bill Wright, Jane Chambers and Peter Gardiner.

Labour will provide the chairmen of the council's overview and scrutiny committee and audit sub-committee and these appointments will be made shortly.

juliette.maxam@eadt.co.uk

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