Coalition talks planned at Richmondshire District Council

The future direction of Richmondshire District Council looks set to be settled before the weekend following residents overturning the Conservative majority.

Talks are due to take place this week between independent councillors and Lib Dems.

The political make-up of the council, which had included 21 Conservative members, now features ten Independents, ten Conservatives, three Liberal Democrats, and one Green.

Councillors said they had been dismayed that as few as 35 per cent of the electorate turned out to cast their vote in the first election since a Local Government Boundary Commission review reduced the number of councillors on the authority from 34 to 24.

Much of the district is included in the Richmond constituency, which has traditionally been among the safest of Conservative parliamentary seats in the country.

Following talks over the weekend, it is understood the Liberal Democrat members are close to forming a block with the Green Party councillor Kevin Foster.

It is also believed that while the Liberal Democrats have been approached by the Conservative group with a view to talking about forming a coalition, this is far less likely than them an alliance with the Independent group members.

Independent group leader Councillor Paul Cullen said senior independent and Lib Dem councillors would sit down on Thursday to discuss a possible coalition.

Councillor Stuart Parsons said whatever the outcome of the talks, the authority’s next leadership would seek to serve the majority rather than a minority of residents.

He said: “We will not be doing a Theresa May on this and plan to be completely open and straightforward from day one.”

Cllr Parsons said the leadership of the council was “not on my personal wish list”, but that it would “depend on what everybody wants”.

He added councillors had until the first full meeting of the authority on May 21 to decide their allegiances.

Cllr Parsons said: “The Independents are not following a party political process. All sorts of ideas can come through.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Clive World declined to reveal how the party would align itself, but said it would continue to promote green issues, such as fly-tipping and recycling, in the next council, alongside policies regarding housing provision.

He said: “We are looking forward to having more say than we have had for the last few years.”

2 Comments

  1. The low turnout is not a surprise to me as democracy seems to have gone out of the window at national level and the lower orders tend to follow suit

  2. This is by no means a sour grapes response but I recently stood for election as a Conservative candidate in the local area. I strongly believe that party politics should not play any part in local council. The Council members are elected to look after the area for which they are elected and supply the services to the community as reasonably as possible. Please do not let Richmond fall back into the days of yesteryears with falling out, name calling etc.

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