Tories choose the back seats

THE Lib Dems continue to hold most of the key positions on Calderdale Council despite getting just 18 per cent of votes in the recent elections.

Tory group leader Stephen Baines said the outcome was fundamentally undemocratic.

“This is turning on its head a fundamental principle of democracy – that the party with most electoral support should have most power,” said Coun Baines (N’owram and Shelf).

“The whole charade smacks more of a Third World despot clinging to power than a democratically elected administration,” he said.

The elections left the Conservatives with 21 seats while the Lib-Dems and Labour have 13 each.

But the Lib-Lab alliance was reinforced for a second year at this week’s annual council meeting, leaving Coun Battye (Calder) as leader and Tim Swift (Lab, Town) as the deputy leader.

They have taken four seats each on a slightly enlarged cabinet and their members chair most key committees and scrutiny panels.

Councillor Battye said: “Between us, we hold the majority of the council seats and our joint administration enjoys the support of the majority of councillors.

“We tried to involve others in a cross-party system to run the council and it is a shame that we are starting the new municipal year with more confrontation from the Conservatives,” she said.

Councillor Swift said the best thing was to continue providing services through the operation of an alliance. “The make-up of the council reflects what the electorate wants,” he said.

l Cabinet members: Barry Collins (Lab, Ill and Mix) environment, Pauline Nash (Lib-Dem, Skircoat) community services, Bob Metcalfe (Lab, Town) adult care, John Beacroft-Mitchell (Lib-Dem, Ludd Foot) resources, children’s care Megan Swift (Lab, Town) and Ashley Evans (Warley) education.

l Committee chairs: Daniel Sutherland (Lab, Ill and Mix) planning, Pat Allen (Lib-Dem, Elland) licensing, Ruth Goldthorpe (Lib-Dem, Tod) health and social care, David Hardy (Lib-Dem, Elland) environment, Helen Rivron (Lab, Oven) community services, Bryan Smith (Lab, Oven) resources. Children and young people panel still to be decided.