Mid Suffolk Greens and Lib Dems unite to challenge administration
PUBLISHED: 11:30 15 July 2020
Opposition political parties at a Suffolk council have united to form a new group that aims to challenge the administration on key issues such as climate measures and property investments.
The 12 Green councillors and five Liberal Democrats at Mid Suffolk District Council have formed a group following concerns over some of the decisions being taken by the administration.
The Conservatives have 16 seats and the one Independent, Gerard Brewster, was offered a role as deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for economic growth by the Tories following the outcome of the election in May last year.
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It means both sides now have 17 councillors.
For close decisions, the council’s administration has been able to rely on the casting vote afforded to the Conservative council chairman, but the Greens and Lib Dems hope that by uniting as a formal opposition group that they can have a greater impact in challenging the Conservatives.
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Rachel Eburne, Green group leader who will lead the new group, said: “The Conservative Party is only able to operate as an administration because its 16 councillors have the support of the one independent and it then has to use the tactic of exploiting the casting vote of the chair.
“We have proposed working collaboratively but they have not offered the opposition parties any portfolio positions in cabinet, nor is it involving us in a way which the balance of the council would suggest that they should.
“We are therefore forming this new group to increase pressure on the administration to act in a way which reflects the views of voters.”
The current balance of political power at the authority means that any by-election which comes up will be a key battleground that could determine the future control of the authority.
The Lib Dems and Greens have already united in opposition groups with Independent councillors at both Suffolk County Council and East Suffolk Council, meaning Mid Suffolk is the third authority where those parties have agreed to work together.
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John Field, Lib Dem group leader at Mid Suffolk who will be deputy leader of the new group, said: “What we are doing follows the successful model we have adopted at the county council level where we have joined forces with the Green Party and others to more effectively scrutinise the operations of the council and hold the administration to account.”
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