Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Delight as 'All-Out' Elections Proposal Fails

A bid, spearheaded by Cllr. Adam Duguid (Market Rasen), to change the election cycle of West Lindsey District Council has been failed at a cost of around £10,000.

The ruling Conservative Group of West Lindsey District Council had hoped that its plan to hold elections once every four years would be accepted with the support of the Liberal Democrat opposition. But at a council vote, most opposition members opted against the proposals, deciding to continue with the current system of election by thirds.

The District of West Lindsey is divided into twenty-five wards with a total number of District Councillors representing these wards being thrity-seven with each Councillor elected for a term of four years.

The Election of Councillors is by thirds, therefore, elections take place each year, apart from the years 2009, 2013, 2017 etc. when elections for the Lincolnshire County Council take place.

Under the current arrangement, a third of councillors are up for election each year and in the fourth year no elections are held.

Council leader Bernard Theobald said he was disappointed the plans did not go through.
"If you keep going back to the electorate and asking them to vote then they can get election fatigue," he said.

"A total of 75 per cent of people who responded during the consultation said they were for the change. We are here to respond to the wishes of the people and this is a lot of money if you're just going to ignore that."
The council said the move to the new system would allow the authority to improve long-term planning, reduce confusion in the community and reduce costs.

The £10,000 consultation, which attracted 1,800 responses from the public was held at the end of last year. Cllr. Theobald said the move would have saved the authority around £60,000 over the next three years.

The vote required at least two-thirds of councillors at the meeting to vote in favour of the change to the cycle. But only 19 of the 34 members present decided it was a good idea.

Under the current election by thirds system the Conservatives on West Lindsey District Council had achieved their highest number of Conservative Councillors. As of January 2009 the Council consisted of 21 Conservatives, 15 Liberal Democrats and 1 Independent. Based on an analysis by Giles McNeill using an all out election system the Council would likely consist of 17 Conservatives, 19 Liberal Democrats and 1 Independent. The Prediction was based on a number of factors, including: Past election results (since 2006), current majority of incumbents, an analysis of the last time the authority held an all out election (1999). The past elections were weighted to give as accurate result as could be generated from the data.

You can watch the full Council debate online here.

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