CornishStuff.com caught up with Tim Dwelly, leader of the Labour Group on Cornwall Council to ask about his party’s intentions as the structure of new Council is being debated. Labour returned 5 councillors at the recent election but with the numbers so tight at County hall for the Leader’s vote next Tuesday (23rd) his party’s votes could be very significant.
“There’s a narrative that some people are trying to say that the Tories ‘won’ the council elections – they didn’t. My way of putting it is that if almost two thirds of councillors are not Tories, on what planet do people think they should run Cornwall council?
If this was the House of Commons and the Tories had 36% of MPs would people be thinking that the Tories would be forming the government?”
Labour will vote for an Independent led council to stop the Tories but they won’t be joining the administration.
Cllr Dwelly would like to avoid the situation of a three way vote next Tuesday – the Tories will put up their choice (Cllr Seeva) and hope enough Tory leaning Indies back him. Respected Independent Cllr Julian German, recent Cabinet member for Economy & Culture is being lined up as the Independent’s choice but the Lib Dems may also choose to put their Leader Adam Paynter forward as they would be the largest group in the new coalition.
Mr Dwelly made it quite clear Cornwall Labour’s preference,
“If the Lib Dems put up a leader we would vote for that aswell but we think it should be an Independent led council as that has the most chance of being a stable, governing administration to keep the Tories out of power in Cornwall”
“People forget that alot of people chose to be Independents because they don’t want to be associated with the toxic brand Tory
I think the Conservatives have totally underestimated the antipathy to the Tories in the council chamber and in the wider electorate because unlike the MPS you do have a pretty wide spread of councillors in there. Its quite clear that neither the Lib Dems or the Tories won a majority. To be seen as winners you’d have to have the most councillors and they haven’t got that, so then it’s down to how good any of them are at forming coalitions and groups, and clearly the Tories are appalling at that and probably the main reason there won’t be a Tory council is the ineptitude of the Tory group”.
When asked if he would secure that ‘progressive alliance / anti Tory’ administration by joining it and taking a seat on the cabinet the Penzance East councillor gave a flat ‘no’ – but they will support it at arms length.
“We are not going to be on the cabinet. We have been asked about this and we have said no but we have said we will wholeheartedly support the election of a leader of a group that keeps the Tories out of power in Cornwall council. Our preference is for that to have an Independent leader”
Although Labour wouldn’t make the ‘Progressive Alliance’ official the councillor for Penzance East added
“There is a new mood in the chamber of willingness to work across groups to keep the Conservatives out because of the damage they would do to Cornwall’s economy and services
We won’t be the administration but we will scrutinise the administration, criticise the administration but when push comes to shove our main role will be to be the main anti – Tory force on Cornwall council”
“We won’t agree on everything but what we won’t be doing is helping the Tories defeat the administration. In other words our opposition will be much more to the Tories than it would be necessarily to the administration”