Horse-trading and unanswered calls
Cornwall’s residents might be wondering why it has taken so long to form an administration at Cornwall Council. However, the reality of forming an administration that will actually works is not that simple.
For example no one party has an over all majority and even with just two parties getting together, it still does not guarantee the formation of an administration. Why? Well, it is the full council of 123 which votes for a Leader, and to guarantee a preferred choice for Leader you need 62 votes. Without a Leader you cannot form a Cabinet, and with no Cabinet, there is no administration. Furthermore, the first full council meeting is on the 21st; so that is the first opportunity for anything to be officially decided.
This is why for the last two weeks the various groups and parties have been locked in talks to find common ground that everyone can agree with. This in itself is not a simple task, but needs to be done or else the administration would quickly fail. This cannot be allowed to happen as the cuts in funding and pressures that Cornwall Council faces in the next four years will need a lot of unity between the different groups for services to be delivered.
As the discussions have progressed, the smaller parties at the council felt it was up to the big-three to sort out the administration. This left the Indy’s, Lib Dems and Tory’s to have more focused meetings, though still keeping the smaller parties informed. However, there is always a point when actual decisions have to be made as to who is in/out of any administration. This came to a head last week when it was felt there was enough talking and agreements had to be reached.
On Thursday the big-three met in their individual groups during the day, with the Indy’s meeting at 4pm. The Indy Group gave the group leaders three options for the administration to take to the other group. Sadly, the Conservative Leader did not feel the need to stay around to find out the result from the Indy’s even though the Lib Dems did. So nothing further could be discussed, which is very disappointing.
With time running out it was imperative that an agreement had to be reached by Friday. The Lib Dems and Indy’s reached agreement on who could be the preferred Leader and the Cabinet split which followed on from Thursdays discussions. It just needed the Conservatives to either agree or disagree. This proved rather problematic, as the Tory Leader was not returning calls. Various messages were left, and deadlines were given for a response. These past and still nothing firm was coming from the Tory’s. A final deadline was given.
With the final deadline fast approaching the Tory Leader finally responded. Though, this was just a call to say more time was needed. At that point, it was felt enough time had been given and now an administration would be formed without the Tory’s. Even if more time had been given to the Tory leader, there was still no guarantee decision would come from her.
The now preferred administration being four Indy’s, four Lib Dems and the two remaining Cabinet positions coming from the smaller parties. The preferred Leader of the Council is John Pollard, and the deputy-leader being a Lib Dems which means Jeremy Rowe. It is also likely the Chairman will be an Independent too.
For me I got the feeling that many in the Tory Group had more desire to be in opposition, but could not just put themselves into it for fear of being criticized for doing this and it would be better if they were ‘forced’ into opposition. As you can only put up so many hurdles until there was no other option but to leave the Tory’s out.
Of course the Tory Leader was quick to put out a press-statement saying the offer was unfair etc. However, I read it more as crocodile tears, rather than being really upset.
Roll on Tuesday as anything could happen before that!