Herefordshire Independents opt to turn down coalition - The Malvern Observer

Herefordshire Independents opt to turn down coalition

Malvern Editorial 11th Dec, 2013 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016   0

INDEPENDENT county councillors have turned down the opportunity to form a coalition with the Conservative group.

The offer was made to join forces following a by-election which saw the number of Conservatives on Herefordshire Council drop to 29, matched by all other political parties which have the other 29 seats between them.

But an unanimous decision was reached by Herefordshire’s Independent group who said they felt it had been ‘proposed too late’ and the offer should instead have been proposed at the beginning of the current term in 2011.

Group leader Coun Sebastian Bowen said the group had given ‘very careful consideration’ to the invitation which would have seen them take on a number of cabinet posts.

“The group, as always, had focused on protecting and promoting Herefordshire as the prime requirement for any decision we may make. We have taken the time to listen carefully to the proposition, have consulted widely in our existing and prospective wards and openly debated the proposed coalition.

“The current proposal appears to be driven by a desperate and disingenuous attempt to cling on to power following the loss of overall control.

“We will continue to support policies from the political groups that we believe are helpful to the future of the county provided they are well costed, and meet the aspirations of the people of the county.”

Coun Tony Johnson said: “The Herefordshire Conservative Group is disappointed that It’s Our County and Independents have refused the offer to set aside political differences, take Cabinet places and cooperate for the benefit of Herefordians.”

He added they continued to do what was ‘unavoidable but right’ which included much good news.

“Against this record we are accused by the opposition groups of cynicism by making a coalition offer from desperation. It is worth noting that we still have a majority vote in the council and did not have to make an offer at all except as a natural progression of my stated intention since my election last May to be inclusive in my approach as leader.

“Let us be quite clear, with their eyes on the next election, the other groups are positively choosing to remain in opposition rather than deal with the hard job of making Herefordshire the best it can be. I will leave Herefordians to decide who is cynical.”

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