Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Lincoln's Liberal Democrat Confirms Conservative Rule of City Council

Cllr. Mrs. Helen Heath
Cllr. Mrs. Helen Heath, Liberal Democrat (Carholme Ward) has decided to support the incumbent administration on Lincoln City Council, which means the authority remaining under Conservative Control, mirroring events nationally and the the formation of the Coalition Government. The Lincolnshire Echo reports her decision was based on a 'dissatisfaction' with Labour's previous reign of power.

Cllr. Mrs. Heath's announcement came at a meeting yesterday and prompted an outraged reply from Labour's Group Leader Cllr. Ric Metcalfe, Labour (Glebe Ward). He talked of Cllr. Mrs Heath now being the 'seventeenth member' of the Conservative Group, although Cllr. Mrs. Heath sits as a Liberal Democrat.

Cllr. Ric Metcalfe
The leader of the opposition at the City of Lincoln Council attacked the lone Liberal Democrat for showing 'breathtaking arrogance' after she backed the Conservatives at City Hall. Cllr.Metcalfe said:
"I have to say it's done nothing to enhance her claim of independence and to hear her trotting out nonsense on independence is laughable.

"She didn't come to the council until 2007, but claims we made mistakes which has led her to back the Tories. It speaks of breathtaking arrogance from her. Labour ran the council extremely competently for years and you can see the incompetence in the Conservatives.

"She is saying she will keep the Conservative administration at arm's length, however she seems to warmly embrace it."
The decision on the ruling administration had been left uncertain for nearly three weeks after the council had no overall control following the elections on Thursday, 6th May 2010. The public vote saw Conservative and Labour holding 16 seats apeice, after Labour gained two from the Conservatives.

Cllr. Metcalfe's anger may be a result that he did, in fact, win the election. The Labour Party gained two seats from the Conservatives and polled more votes. The Conservative recieved 14,277 which was almost a thousand votes less than Labour who recieved 15,220. The Liberal Democrats came third with 9,482.

Cllr. Mrs. Heath is reported to have said:
"My decision has been reached after consideration of local needs and has not been dictated by colleagues at Westminster.

"I am not satisfied that the previous Labour administration's management of the city's budget was robust enough during their time in office, nor am I satisfied they would be prepared to make the tough and even unpopular decisions that the current financial climate requires.

"I remain unconvinced the Labour group is sufficiently flexible or pragmatic enough to work effectively with either the new MP, or a Tory dominated county council."
The Lincolnshire Echo summerise her as saying that the Conservatives were 'more flexible' and that there is a better chance of getting her party's 'key priorities' delivered by supporting a Conservative-led authority.