Cornwall Council: The last days of a Leader?
With just over a week till the no-confidence motion on the Leader is debated; things a County Hall are likely to get interesting with many talks in the corridors on which side a Councillor is likely to choose. The stakes are high depending on the outcome, either Shared Services (JV as some like to call it) is killed-off, or carries on despite the majority of Councillors voting against, and nearly 6000 petition signatures backing up the view the JV is not in the best interest of Cornwall.
The numbers on the no-confidence will be critical to both sides. To make it worse for the Leadership, they do not command an overwhelming majority. You see, the Council is made up of 123 Councillors split as: 48 Conservatives, 37 Liberal Democrats, 29 Independents, 6 Mebyon Kernow, 1 Labour and 2 Councillors who have no specified political affiliation. That means the Conservatives only make up 39% of the Council. Not a good position to defend a no-confidence motion from.
Now there are also 29 Independents at the Council who are in a very loose group. Out of that, there are four Councillors in the Cabinet, and I would say another 10 are either in support of the Leader, the JV, or not interested in the no-confidence motion. That leaves 15, who either have supported the no-confidence motion (11) and four who could go either-way in the vote.
So even if every Conservative Councillor turns up, and half the Independents (15) vote in support of the leader, that gives the Leadership 63. The winning side needs 62 if every councillor is present and votes. That is a very close margin to rely on for the Leadership, especially as there are already apologies for not being able to attend from Conservatives. Furthermore, you would have to be delusional if you thought all the Conservatives would support the Leader. The question is how many will not?
Let’s say the Leader is disposed, who will be the replacement? Well, I think there is only one, who has shown the courage, and I am hearing has cross-party support for the role. I think the word of cross-party support will not be words the 4th floor wants to hear, especially with the numbers to stay in power so tight.
So it will be an understatement to say next week at County Hall will be very interesting.