Liberal Democrats condemn ‘Alice in Wonderland’ politics

Following an adjournment of yesterday’s Annual Meeting, Stockport Council will now meet again tomorrow (Thursday 27th May), as the parties try to agree a way forward for the new civic year.

Last week’s informal meeting had determined a Labour minority administration would continue in office with Conservative support. All eight Conservative councillors voted with Labour to deprive the Liberal Democrats, with 26 seats the largest party on the council, of the chance to form a new minority administration.

Not content with, effectively, being part of the administration it seems the Conservatives also want to control the overview and scrutiny process – a role traditionally taken by the opposition. Such a decision would mean they would only be scrutinising matters which they agreed with in the first place and would be a flagrant disregard of standard local government practice.

Speaking in advance of tomorrow’s meeting Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group said “Not content with their grubby deal to cling on to power in Stockport at any price, it now looks as if Labour and the Conservatives are working together to hand control of certain Scrutiny committees to themselves. This really is ‘Alice in Wonderland’ politics and cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

“In the interests of openness, transparency and accountability Liberal Democrats will oppose these moves and take every opportunity to expose this Conservative-backed Labour administration for the unholy alliance at the Town Hall it is. We will be proposing that the Chairs of Scrutiny remain firmly in opposition hands – the number of Conservative and Liberal Democrat seats on the council remains exactly the same as last year, so there is no justification whatsoever for this proposed change.

“In any event, as far as we are concerned any changes should have been agreed at the Informal Council last week. The very purpose of that meeting was to resolve any matters which may cause disagreement at the Annual Council Meeting. To try to push these controversial proposals through at this late stage is simply unconstitutional.”

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