Last night, 17 May, at the Annual Meeting of Cherwell District Council, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Councillors failed to propose a viable administration whilst also rejecting a minority Conservative administration. As a result, the Council is in political abeyance.
“The outcome of the Annual Meeting of Cherwell District Councillors last night (17 May) was deeply regrettable.
As reported in local media before the meeting, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Councillors failed to reach an agreement to run the Council. In the interests of the residents we serve, we stood ready to form a minority administration, supported by two Independent Councillors.
This entirely reasonable proposal, which is standard in local government, was blocked by Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Councillors, who chose instead to suspend local democracy by placing legal powers into the hands of unelected Council officers.
The result leaves Cherwell in limbo. No democratic decisions can be taken until Labour, Lib Dem and Green Councillors do a backroom deal or they do the honourable thing and allow Conservative and Independent Councillors to form a minority administration that consults with all Councillors on major policy decisions.
This is what custom and practice dictate, and it is how local government is - and always has been - run in very normal situations such as this where no single party has a majority in a Council chamber. This is what should have happened last night. But for party-political manoeuvring by Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens that is what would have happened.
Arguing for more time after weeks of failed negotiations makes a mockery of local government and risks bringing Cherwell District Council into disrepute. It is time for Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Councillors to be grown-up and put residents’ interests above their own.
If Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Councillors want to run the Council: they should get on and do so. If they cannot, they must step aside without delay.”