Tory bid to oust leader col­lapses

Rossendale Free Press - - Front Page - CHRIS GEE

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

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