Very unusual goings-on in South Ribble, following Liberal Democrat councillor David Howarth calling a council meeting to debate a motion of no confidence in Conservative council leader Mary Green. She had hit the media for comparing the Labour Party to Nazis, triggering the motion.
Before the meeting was held, however, she was ousted as Conservative leader. As a result, when the councillors convened for the meeting they turned to what to do about a successor. But not all the councillors had turned up which turned out to be rather significant, as the local newspaper recounts:
Deputy leader of the authority, Caroline Moon, told the meeting that Conservative party rules meant the group could not nominate a new council leader until it had elected a leader of the party – and she then sought to adjourn the meeting until November. But the absence of nine Conservative councillors meant the group was minus its usual working majority – and Cllr Moon’s request was rejected.
Following this, Labour councillor Paul Foster won a vote by 20-19 to become council leader. Possibly only until the next meeting if the Conservatives get their act together, though given the apparent deep splits in the group, I wouldn’t rate that as a certainty.
As the BBC adds:
Losing one leader may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose three in as many years looks like carelessness.
South Ribble Council has been mired in scandal since early 2016 and never seems to have recovered.
At the heart of the authority’s problems, is a huge split in the ruling Conservative group.
As the council staggers and sways from leader to leader, there are many in the borough crying out for stability – urging councillors to get their act together.
Thank you to reader Angela Turner for drawing my attention to this story.