At the Annual Meeting last night the Conservatives again failed to take
control of Pendle Council (on which no party has a majority) from the
current Lib-Lab administration. A motion of no confidence moved by
Conservative Leader Councillor Joe Cooney was defeated by 25 votes to 23
as yet again the Conservatives failed to get all their members to the meeting.
Councillor Cooney said that the Conservative motion was “another attempt
to bring all parties together” on an all-party Executive with a Conservative
Leader. But Liberal Democrat Leader Tony Greaves said it was “a trick”
because it would result in overall Conservative control of the Executive
when they did not have a majority on the Council.
Councillor Greaves said: “If the Conservatives ever win enough elections to
get a majority they will have a right to take over. Until then it is clear that
there is not now a consensus on this Council on some of the most important
policies. They have not told us what policies they would like any agreement
on but on the basis of the last year many of their policies would in our view
not be good for people in Pendle.”
Councillor Greaves added: “In my view this Council has been working better
in the past two years than at any time it has been under no overall control.
For this last year of the Executive system we see no reason to change the
Separately the Annual Meeting voted to replace the Executive system with
a Committee system from next May. The change was part of the agreement
between the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties on the Council which they
made last year and was moved last night by the council leader Councillor
Mohammed Iqbal and seconded by the Liberal deputy leader Councillor Tony
Councillor Greaves said that the change came after a five-year long
campaign by the Liberals. The proposal includes a 17-member Policy and
Resources Committee to replace the 10-person Executive, on which the
parties will appoint members proportionately to the membership of the
Councillor Greaves said: “The difference is that the Executive consists of
the members of the political administration only. The Policy Committee will
represent the whole Council, both the ruling party or parties and the
opposition. It will be more democratic and we think that in a council like
Pendle it will work better since all the issues will be debated and considered
properly at the meetings. The decisions will be better scrutinised.”
The Conservatives moved an amendment that the Chair of the Policy
Committee must be the Leader of the biggest party but this was defeated.
The proposal for a Committee System was then passed by 25 votes to 0,
with the Conservative group abstaining.