Tory bid to oust leader collapses
ACONSERVATIVE bid to bring down the leader of Rossendale council failed after half the party’s councillors failed to support it.
Interim Tory leader Annabel Shipley proposed a motion of no confidence in council leader Alyson Barnes at the recent full council meeting, however five of the ten Tories present abstained from the vote.
The motion was heavily defeated, and an argument appeared to break out between some Tory members in the council chamber at the end of the meeting.
Introducing the motion, Coun Shipley said: “Councillor Barnes, when you become the controlling group of a local authority that gives you the right to make decisions and plans or policies that are introduced, but with rights come responsibilities and this is where you failed in your duty.”
Speaking against the motion, Coun Barbara Ashworth said: “I think we all know that this motion is not about the empty homes scheme, it’s all about a very political and personal attack on Alyson Barnes.
“As far as we’re concerned on this side of the chamber we’re 100 per cent behind Alyson.”
Coun Barnes chose not to speak during the debate.
Coun Jimmy Eaton was one of the Tories who abstained from the vote, bemoaning ‘pettiness on both sides of the chamber’. He said: “It’s time it stopped and we all grew up. It’s an absolute disgrace.”
Speaking after the meeting, he said: “After the debate I thought ‘we have achieved absolutely nothing here’. I disagreed with the motion.”
Coun Peter Steen, who seconded the motion, could be seen during the vote turning to his Tory colleagues, sarcastically saying ‘ thanks for your support’.
In a named vote the Conservative councillors who voted for the motion of no confidence were Annabel Shipley, Peter Steen, Granville Morris, Brian Essex and Anne Cartner Cheetham.
The Tories who abstained were Jimmy Eaton, Janet Eaton, Tony Haworth, David Stansfield and Val Roberts.
The entire Labour group and Community First’s Alan Neal voted against the motion.
Last week we revealed that the previously suspended former group leader Coun Val Roberts, along with Coun David Stansfield who had been ‘expelled’ last September, had both been reinstated to the party following an internal investigation into their conduct.
After the meeting Coun Steen said he was ‘ very disappointed’ that the group had not been united and confirmed the group’s leadership would be resolved shortly after May’s elections.
●● Conservative acting leader Coun Annabel Shipley (left) proposed a vote of no confidence in council leader Alyson Barnes