Labour vow to raise scru­tiny

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Councilelections - By MATTHEW REVILLE matthew.reville@pe­ter­bor­oughto­ @Et_reville

TORY coun­cil­lors will face a tougher test pass­ing their leg­is­la­tion due to losses in Thurs­day’s elec­tion, ac­cord­ing to mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion par­ties.

The Con­ser­va­tive ma­jor­ity on Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil has dropped from 17 in 2010 to just seven.

Op­po­si­tion coun­cil­lors had pre­vi­ously com­plained that is­sues like the Cathe­dral Square foun­tains and coun­cil tax rises could eas­ily pass through the cham­ber due to Con­ser­va­tive block vot­ing.

The Labour party are now their main op­po­si­tion with 11 coun­cil­lors. Labour group leader Cllr Nazim Khan thinks that this will mean greater scru­tiny.

He said: “They won’t get away with what they were do­ing be­fore. It is a re­ally good re­sult.

“They can now ex­pect to face a very strong op­po­si­tion, but a very pos­i­tive op­po­si­tion that will de­fend our city and hold the coun­cil

(METP-04-05-12BD107) to higher scru­tiny.”

The coun­cil has 57 seats and the Con­ser­va­tives held as many as 40 af­ter the 2010 elec­tion - mean­ing they had 17 more seats than ev­ery other party com­bined.

How­ever, af­ter a poor per­for­mance on Thurs­day their num­ber of seats has dropped to 32 - a ma­jor­ity of seven over the other par­ties com­bined.

The other 25 op­po­si­tion coun­cil­lors are made up of 10 from the Peter­bor­ough In­de­pen­dents (in­clud­ing three Lib­eral Party mem­bers) and four Lib­eral Democrats.

Lib­eral Demo­crat Cllr Dar­ren Fower said: “The Tories do have a whip and it has been frus­trat­ing in the past when votes have been so one-sided.

“We look for­ward to work­ing with the other par­ties in scru­ti­n­is­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

Peter­bor­ough In­de­pen­dents Cllr John Fox added: “It will mean there will have to be more dis­cus­sion with other coun­cil­lors.

“In the past peo­ple have said there is no point vot­ing for In­de­pen­dents be­cause they have no power - now when deals need to be made, they will need to talk to In­de­pen­dent coun­cil­lors.”

Con­ser­va­tive leader Cllr Marco Cer­este said: “In a way, it was quite a good re­sult. Other Con­ser­va­tive coun­cils have been dec­i­mated but we are still in power.”

Among the Tory losses are Bret­ton North, East, Flet­ton and Wood­ston and Or­ton Longueville wards - all of whom had first-time can­di­dates due to de­s­e­lec­tions and coun­cil­lor re­tire­ments.

Cllr Cer­este added: “Un­for­tu­nately I have no say in the se­lec­tion process. If a de­s­e­lec­tion leads to us los­ing a seat, it is clearly not some­thing we want to see.”

Cllr Sheila Scott, a Con­ser­va­tive elec­tion agent, said: “There are some se­ri­ous lessons to be learned.”

leader: Cllr Marco Cer­este.

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