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Councillors accuse Conservatives of leaving them “out in the cold” at Lichfield City Council

The Conservatives have been accused of leaving other parties “out in the cold” at Lichfield City Council.

The comments come from Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors who say they are angry over the way committee memberships had been allocated following the local elections.

The 28-strong council saw the Conservatives lose a number of seats at the polls earlier this month, with opposition groups winning 12 seats.

But Liberal Democrat Cllr Paul Ray and Labour’s Cllr David Robertson said the organisation did not reflect the shape of the council.

Paul Ray and David Robertson
Paul Ray and David Robertson

“Lichfield residents indicated a clear wish to move away from a mainly Conservative council by electing twelve city councillors who are not from that party,” Cllr Ray said.

“This 43% is more than a token opposition, and we feel that the composition of the various committees of the city council should reflect this.

“Unfortunately, the Conservative leadership of the council does not seem to share this view, restricting the membership of the minority parties on most committees to one member per committee.

“Meanwhile, the Conservatives pack these committees with up to 9 councillors.

“This relic of the old monolithic, virtually single-party, city council leaves us out in the cold and fails to reflect the change and transparency which were voted for the people of Lichfield.”

“Very disappointing”

Cllr Robertson, who leads the Labour group at Lichfield City Council, accused the Conservatives of “playing politics”.

“It is very disappointing that the Conservative group is not listening to the residents of the city,” he said.

“It is just three weeks since thousands voted in the city council elections and returned a very diverse group of councillors in Lichfield.

“What a shame that this message of change has fallen on deaf ears when it comes to the controlling group, who appear to be carrying on as if nothing has changed.

“The Tory group are choosing to play party politics rather than accessing the full skillset of all of the newly elected councillors.

“It certainly appears as if the Conservatives consider a blue rosette to be the only qualification that matters, irrespective of any experience a councillor may have, to help make Lichfield an even better place to live and work.

“Having spoken to hundreds of people during the election campaign it is clear that many people do not feel listened to by politicians, I hope that the Conservative group hears this message and reconsiders their position so that colleagues from all parties and none can best work together for the people we serve.”

Cllr Mark Warfield, who leads the controlling Conservative group at Lichfield City Council, said the issue was being looked at.

He said: “This matter is up for discussion at the next group meeting and for debate at the next city council meeting.”

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5 Comments

  1. Cllr Sue Woodward

    22nd May, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    The comment from Cllr Warfield shows that the Tories have learnt nothing about transparency, openness, democratic decision-making. This should be discussed openly by the whole Council, not just in a Conservative Group meeting where members will be “locked in” to a particular decision. He may not like the fact that Councillors from different parties from his have been elected but they have and he and his fellow Tories should fully acknowledge that – as we have at Burntwood Town Council where Committee places have all been agreed in conjunction with both political Groups and the Independent Member.

  2. AnnS

    23rd May, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    Some things never change. We shouldn’t be surprised.

  3. Steve

    26th May, 2019 at 9:35 am

    I am genuinely shocked.

    Imagine promising somthing during an election. Then doing totally the opposite once elected.

    This has be a first for Lichfield.

  4. Darryl Godden

    26th May, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    Considering the Conservative tactics at a government & local level to retain power, why is anyone shocked?

  5. Rob

    27th May, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    How are the calls for “compromise” progressing?
    “kinder, gentler politics”

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