Tories on North Yorkshire Council restore grip on power after losing majority

County Hall in Northallerton.

Tories who recently lost their majority on North Yorkshire Council for the first time in decades have announced the formation of an alliance with some Independent members to bolster their grip on power.

North Yorkshire Council`s leader Councillor Carl Les has revealed three of the council’s 45 members who were not elected as Conservatives last May will form an alliance with the 45 remaining Tory members.

Questions have hung over political decision-making at County Hall following Camblesforth councillor Mike Jordan’s move to quit the Tory group two weeks ago and become an Independent member in protest over both the national party and the council’s 20mph zones policy.

The decision left the council with 45 Conservative members and the same number of Independent, Labour, Liberal, Liberal Democrat and Green councillors.

Coun Les said following the departure of Coun Jordan the Conservative group had “reached out to other members” with the sole aim of securing “stable
and sustainable governance of North Yorkshire Council for the benefit of its residents”.

However, the new Conservative and Independents group will not seek official recognition from the authority, so no further changes will be needed to the authority’s decision-making committees, as the membership is proportional to the size of each political group.

Two members of the alliance are former Conservative councillors, Sheriff Hutton and Derwent member Caroline Goodrick and Skipton East and South member Robert Heseltine, and will remain as unaffiliated Independents.

Coun Heseltine has stated the authority’s ability to make effective decisions was paramount in his decision.

Coun Goodrick, who was not selected by the Thirsk and Malton Conservative Associationb as the Conservative candidate for her division at the last election despite the support of County Hall colleagues, underlined that she was still Independent and was not prepared to step back into the Conservative arena.

She said: “I do believe we need to bring stability to the council. I have worked for a very long time in a hung council at Ryedale and it’s not a pleasant place to be.

“We have an opportunity to stabilise the situation and bring proper strategic decision-making for North Yorkshire as a whole by supporting the Conservative.”

Ripon Minister and Moorside Independent councillor Andrew Williams had been part of the council’s North Yorkshire Independents group.

Coun Les said his group welcome the move which would enable the members to “still serve their communities as they were elected to do as Independent councillors”.

He said: “Each of them have put stable and sensible decision-making at the top of their agenda since the elections last May, and as such we have agreed a common purpose.

“I’m very pleased we will be working more closely with three senior colleagues, who bring experience and expertise to our discussions.”

“It is important that following local government reorganisation our staff feel secure in a well managed authority with clear policies in place . We will work together to achieve the sustainable and stable political direction this authority deserves, as indeed we have from last May. The services we provide, especially those dealing with vulnerable people, depend upon it.”

Reacting to the Indepdent councillors’ decision, Councillor Stuart Parsons, leader of the council’s Independent group, said it was “yet another demonstration of what Conservatives will do to cling onto power”.

He said: “Just 40 per cent of the votes cast they still claim that they are the majority group and I hope that the three Conservative Independents enjoy their new status and answer swiftly to their electorate.”

2 Comments

  1. Looks like if the conservatives don’t win one way then they just go ahead and win another way.

    These are the same people we have to trust to run this so called new council and also run what we used to call Great Britain.

    I think the Great part has long gone out of Britain which the hard workers of Britain earned after the war has long gone and doesn’t look like it’s likely to come back any time soon.

    Britain again needs a lot hard work putting in to it and maybe one it will be Great Britain again.

  2. ‘Stability’ is good only if it is beneficial. In this instance it will not be beneficial to the majority of the residents of N. Yorkshire. Stuart Parsons is absolutely right.

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