COUNCILLORS at the Guildhall have failed to agree on a way forward in how Worcester will be governed following last week’s local elections in which the city was again plunged into no overall control.
The Conservatives lost control of the council with a net loss of three seats leaving them with 15 councillors while Labour retained the seats they were fighting and gained Nunnery from the Conservative Party.
Worcester’s Green Party saw another two councillors elected with the Liberal Democrats cemented their Claines stronghold with a strong defence of the seat.
However, there remains no clear way forward on how decisions will be made with Labour accusing the Green Party of rebuffing their offer of a coalition to remove the Tories from power.
As a result, councillors will be asked to debate two possible ways forward at the annual meeting of the council on Tuesday (May 17).
New city Labour group leader Coun Lynn Denham has called for the current demand for the leader of the council to be the leader of the largest party to be scrapped in favour of a straight vote at the council meeting.
However, Green Party leader Coun Louis Stephen has issued a plea for the Tory and Labour leadership to act as ‘co-leaders’ of Worcester City Council for the next 12 months as part of a ‘collegiate’ approach to decision-making to reflect the make-up of the council.
Should it be approved, it will mean re-elected Conservative group leader Coun Marc Bayliss could share duties with Coun Denham with the current deputy leader position scrapped for at least 12 months
However, Coun Stephen’s proposal also includes a caveat that should one group decline to nominate a ‘joint leader’, the council will elect just one leader who would then be able to ask other group leaders to stand in for him/her when required.
With Labour not supporting the continued Conservative leadership, it’s likely if this motion passes that Coun Marc Bayliss will remain leader of Worcester City Council.
Coun Denham said: “Coun Riaz and I have been talking to the Green Party leadership all weekend.
“Despite a common agenda on climate change and inequalities, the Greens declined our offer of any kind of progressive alliance.
“The Labour Group made clear we don’t support continuing Tory leadership of Worcester City Council. It is baffling that the leader of Worcester Green Party continues to invite the Conservative party to share power.
“Last week, the voters of Worcester gave a clear mandate to progressive parties, both in terms of votes and in terms of seats.
“Worcester Green Party’s leadership should honour this mandate and move forward with resolving the city’s many problems. The Labour Group of Councillors remain focused on delivering on our promises to our voters.”
EDITOR’S COMMENT: What a mess, once again the politics of personality are more important than the people of Worcester.
We are in a cost of living crisis, we have shops empty across Worcester, people are having to choose between heating and eating yet our elected representatives want to slug it out for 12 months again.
A simple coalition of any composition is seemingly an impossible ask for any of our parties despite the city needing stable leadership more than ever.
It’s about time the egos and feuds were parked and replaced with a desire to deliver the leadership Worcester people deserve.