New Babergh cabinet formed but anger as Greens miss out

PUBLISHED: 20:54 22 May 2019 | UPDATED: 20:55 22 May 2019

The first meeting of the new Babergh District Council in May 2019. Picture: JASON NOBLE

The first meeting of the new Babergh District Council in May 2019. Picture: JASON NOBLE

Jason Noble

Conservatives, Independents and Liberal Democrats have all been given places on a Suffolk council’s cabinet - but not the Green Party.

John Ward remains as leader at Babergh. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJohn Ward remains as leader at Babergh. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Conservatives at Babergh District Council, who had enjoyed a majority for the last four years, failed to win enough seats to claim power during this month's elections.

The party had been two seats short of a majority but a coalition has now been formed at Wednesday's full council meeting which means four Conservatives, three Independents and one Liberal Democrat will serve on the cabinet.

However, the cabinet announcement has caused anger among the Green group, which won four seats, as members felt its make-up as one eighth of the council merited a cabinet position.

Robert Lindsay, Green group leader, said: "I am more than disappointed, I am actually quite angry about it."

Robert Lindsay was angered by the cabinet announcement. PIcture: SARAH LUCY BROWNRobert Lindsay was angered by the cabinet announcement. PIcture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"In Babergh, 23% of the people who voted voted Green, and they voted for a reason. That's nearly one in four wanted to see a Green party and I think a lot of our residents will be shocked a Green has been excluded."

But John Ward, who will stay on as leader, said: "I have to put together an administration, but needs to be one that has broad support across the chamber. I feel we have been able to do that.

"I have got a good balanced cabinet using experienced councillors from my group, the Independents and the Lib Dems."

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During his speech he added: "I am mindful that the Conservatives are no longer a majority but we are the largest group, and can and should play a part in the cabinet.

"Over the last year-and-a-half I have shown a willingness to work with all groups.

"The cabinet will reflect the fact that a mutual agreement as been reached."

John Ward will retain his portfolio for finance, while fellow Conservatives Jan Osborne, Michael Holt and Elisabeth Malvisi will have responsibility for housing, economic growth and environment respectively.

Independent Derek Davis will move across to the communities role, having previously served as customers portfolio holder under the previous administration. That role now goes to Independent Lee Parker - previously a Conservative.

Clive Arthey, head of the Independents, will be deputy leader and planning cabinet member, while Lib Dem councillor David Busby will hold the assets and investments role.

Kathryn Grandon, who stood as an Independent after failing to be re-selected by the Tory party, has become the first chairman.

Clive Arthey said: "We have been working hard for the best part of three weeks now to try and put together some sort of administration that will work to the benefit of the council, and the community, and people we represent.

"I see absolutely no reason why it won't work."

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