As the Leader of the Conservative Group on BCP Council, I feel compelled to respond to the recent comments in this paper from some of my fellow councillors. I wholeheartedly agree that this is a “critical and challenging time” as we manage the enormous health and economic crisis before us.
The ruling Unity Alliance has suffered resignations in the last year. As such, the Alliance is now a minority administration whose cabinet of political compromise is paralysed by their internal politics and inexperience at a time when this conurbation cannot afford weak leadership.
That is why the Conservative Group, after consultation with the Chief Executive and other senior officers, offered to put politics firmly to one side and to work with the current Leader in dealing with these issues together in the local interest. That offer was flatly rejected. We were told, not for the first time, that the Unity Alliance would not work with the Conservatives. Despite the current climate and not having a working majority, they simply will not even talk to us because of their politics.
I have heard many calls that we should be all working together. No one could agree more – especially when the current Council Administration do not even have the numbers to pass a budget. But if others refuse to work with us it is our responsibility to bring forward a stronger administration where no one is excluded by party politics.
My colleagues’ praise for the current Leader is well deserved. But our Council is run by a Cabinet of ten, not a President. The silence from the relevant portfolio holders about the chaos on our beaches and roads this last weekend is but one clear example of how the Leader’s competence is just not matched by some of those on who she and all of us must rely. The “Unity Alliance” contains many reasonable, politically moderate and hardworking Councillors – and if our bid for stability succeeds, we will look to them to join with us to form a stable Administration with the necessary experience to take on the challenges our residents and businesses must face.