After the elections what happens next for Wirral Council?
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Above is Elvis Presley’s Suspicious Minds that sums up how people feel after these local elections.
Following the local elections and my piece about the results although Wirral Council has been down this path many times in the past, people have some questions about what happens next.
If you can cast your mind back to 2011 and Wirral Council, it was a similar election result to now. Labour didn’t have enough councillors for a majority. However they did have more than the Conservatives. That year Labour went for a minority administration, then when it had trouble after a few months was saved by Lib Dem abstentions but then later removed when the Martin Morton whistleblowing issues became public.
No opposition group at that time wanted to form a coalition with the Labour Group of councillors and at the moment looking at the four groups on Wirral Council (Conservative, Green, Lib Dem and Independent) I can understand in a coalition why the first three (who all gained seats) would not want to get twelve months of blame by Labour ahead of the May 2020 elections.
The Independent Group (who are all former Labour councillors) if I look back at what has happened in the last year or so wanted change. Whatever efforts they made to change the Labour Party internally by them (before they decided to leave) that didn’t succeed has instead resulted in change through the ballot box.
Most of the Labour councillors will be their former colleagues.
So that’s scenario one – a Labour and Independent deal.
Scenario two is a deal between Labour and the Lib Dems or the Greens.
Scenario three is a power sharing arrangement between all five groups and a change to the governance model of Wirral Council.
At the moment the Independent Group has put out a statement identifying the greenbelt, Hoylake Golf Resort, environmental enforcement (the Kingdom issues) and the Dog PSPO as four policy areas.
Their demands also stretch to the following too:-
a) debate and discussion takes place in public (presumably at public meetings that can be attended and watched by the Wirral public),
b) open and transparent decision-making,
c) all councillors involved in decision-making (presumably this is a reference to the Cabinet system),
d) value-for-money for the taxpayer,
e) senior managers held to account and responsive and
f) a priority for frontline services.
If you interpret that one way that means scrapping the current Cabinet model of governance.
The papers for the public meeting on the 14th that decides what happens next have two interesting agenda items, item 6 is to elect a Leader of the Council and item 7 is the Leader’s Appointment of Deputy Leader and Cabinet.
Item 8 sees Labour lose its majority on pretty much all committees including being reduced to six out of thirteen seats on the Planning Committee.
At the moment pretty much every committee on Wirral Council has a Labour Chair (who has a casting vote in the event of a tied vote).
So in summary, following the loss of majority at the elections, if there was a Labour Cabinet any of its decisions (whether of the whole Cabinet or individual Cabinet Members) could be overruled by the opposition parties either ones that are a recommendation to Council or by a call-in.
So any change to policy or budgetary measure that attracted large opposition and controversy could be stopped.
Ultimately the result of the election is that Labour no longer have the power on Wirral Council to do what they like.
It does make for more interesting politics to report on.
But ultimately the result the people have voted for is for a check and balance on Labour on Wirral Council.
What happens next is impossible to say at this point with much certainty!
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