Conservatives use casting vote to cling on to power

20 May 2019


As councillors come together following the local elections on May 2nd, the Green Group at Mid Suffolk, now 12 strong, has expressed dismay that the Conservative group is seeking to hold on to power rather than work collaboratively given they no longer have a majority on the council.

Green Group leader councillor Rachel Eburne said, "The public has clearly expressed a wish for change having reduced the Conservatives from three quarters of the council to less than half. Our councillors, along with the five Liberal Democrats, have offered to form a cabinet and administration sharing the responsibility of running the council in the best interests of the public we all represent. Unfortunately the Conservatives have rejected our power-sharing proposal and are behaving as though the election never happened.”

The outcome of the election was to return sixteen Conservative councillors (down from 29) plus one independent working with them, twelve Green councillors and five Liberal Democrats. The Conservatives stood in all 26 wards and gained nearly 14,000 votes, only 41% of the total. The Greens stood in only 18 wards but gained nearly 12,000 votes and the Liberal Democrats stood in 17 wards and gained just over 6,000 votes.

Rachel Eburne said, “The results show that the Conservatives have no mandate to rule and will only be able to manage Council business by exploiting the fact that the outgoing chair of the Council has a casting vote which will allow them to appoint a new chair, and thus continue to use a casting vote. This way of doing business is neither practical nor respectful of the will of the people.”

The Green Party group had asked for three out of the eight portfolio-holding seats on the Council cabinet, allowing Council business to be agreed between the parties. This was rejected so now all business will have to be passed at meetings of the full Council, requiring the attendance and vote of every single Conservative councillor for every meeting plus the casting vote of the Council chair.

Andy MellenNewly elected Green councillors are looking forward to their new roles. District Councillor for Bacton ward, Andy Mellen, responded to his success:Wendy Turner

"I feel a great sense of purpose as I take on my duties; we have a wonderful opportunity as a group of 12 Green Councillors to address both the local problems in Mid-Suffolk and the looming threat of climate change."

Councillor Wendy Turner, who topped the poll in Thurston, added:

“I feel for the first time in my life I'm in a position where I can effect change for the good, where I can help our communities prepare to withstand climate chaos.”


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