Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The first full meeting of the new Cornwall Council

The first full meeting of Cornwall Council took place today and Independent councillor John Pollard (above) from Hayle was elected leader of the authority. He will lead a joint Independent and Liberal Democrat Cabinet of ten members, split equally between the two groups.

There were discussions between the Conservative, Independent and Liberal Democrat groups about the possibility of a “rainbow” or “one and all” administration. These negotiations were not necessarily as reported in the press, and ended up being quite fractious.

Last week, the Independents and Liberal Democrats offered the Conservatives two seats on the Cabinet, which were not accepted. Late in the week, the Independents and Liberal Democrats then offered these two remaining places to Labour and MK, in what appeared to be an effort to have a broader Executive.

The offer was made at about 4.00 on Friday, with a request to consider the option over the ensuing weekend. But unfortunately, within an hour, it was being misreported in the local media that a deal had actually already been done.

This was not the case. The Labour group declined the offer which meant that a wider administration was not possible, and at a meeting of the MK group on Sunday, we decided that it would not be appropriate to seek MK representation on an Executive containing only two other groups.

The MK group has prepared a statement about the new administration and our approach to Cornwall Council over the next four years. The statement is as follows:

“The Mebyon Kernow group is disappointed that the three main groups on the Council (Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Independent) were unable to agree an administration, that would have been able to work collectively for the betterment of Cornwall.

“From an MK perspective, this could have meant the whole council coming together to challenge the disproportionate level of central government cuts to local government, in general, and to Cornwall Council, in particular.

“In these difficult times, it remains our view that all groups on the authority must work together constructively. It cannot be right to put political self-interest ahead of what is best for Cornwall.

“Though we will not be part of the Independent / Liberal Democrat administration, the MK councillors on Cornwall Council are committed to working with one and all, to seek a better deal for our communities.

“We look forward to engaging positively with the administration on a range of issues and on policy development and to ensure greater transparency in decision-making.”

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