For those fans of Conservative oathbreaking in Southend, it really was not a long wait for the first election pledge to go out of the window. In fact, it was literally the first act of Cllr John Lamb (CON – West Leigh) after he won the leadership of the council.
As predicted, the appointments meeting of Southend Borough Council saw an alliance of UKIP and Conservative councillors oust the Joint Administration of Labour, Independent
Party Group, Liberal Democrats and Southend Independence Group that has been running the council for the last two years.
Thus begins, then, the new Conservative administration, and the reign of Cllr John Lamb (CON – West Leigh) as the leader of the council. Dark times ahead…
Last week I reported on the deal struck between Southend UKIP and Southend Conservatives, which now seems to be common knowledge, including that Cllr Floyd Waterworth (UKIP – Blenheim Park) would get chair of Development Control Committee.
Now, never minding the horse trading still going on behind closed doors–including the sheer number of Conservative councillors suddenly realising that they have their leader Cllr John Lamb (CON – West Leigh) over a barrel and can demand plum jobs for themselves–there seems to be a groundswell of scepticism as to whether Cllr Waterworth is up to what is — in effect — the most senior non-cabinet role on the council.
This morning, BBC Essex are reporting what my little birds have been telling me for the last few days: that Cllr John Lamb (CON – West Leigh), leader of the Conservative Group on Southend Borough Council, has struck a deal with Cllr Floyd Waterworth (UKIP – Blenheim Park), leader of the UKIP group, to take control of the council.
To say that I’m disappointed at the news is an understatement, but after the elections the Joint Administration was on a knife edge, and Cllr Lamb clearly saw this as his last opportunity to achieve his long-held dream of becoming council leader — and was willing to do almost anything to make it happen.
The magic number on the council is 26. 26 councillors is a majority. The Tories have 24 councillors after the elections. The Joint Administration had 25 councillors (10 Labour, 9 Independent
Party Group, 3 Southend Independence Group, 2 Liberal Democrat, 1 non-aligned -Ed). Thus the two UKIP councillors held the balance of power.
Yesterday I blogged the list of the Conservative shadow cabinet on Southend Borough Council, and left it deliberately without comment.
I spent last year rather confused as to who was in the shadow cabinet, and what they were doing (Bugger all being the standard response to that particular question -Ed). So this year I made a special effort to find out who these people were, and the result was posted up for the whole world to see.
Now, there are some observations to be made about the names on that list. There are more pertinent observations, perhaps, to be made about the names which aren’t on that list. For one thing, after he managed to get re-elected, poor Derek Jarvis is out on his ear. More perplexing, though, is that having gotten the heavyweight they sorely needed back on the Tory benches in the form of Tony Cox, he’s been given…err, diddley squat.
This, I suspect, is the aftermath of an attempted coup at the top of the Conservative Party in Southend.
|John Lamb||West Leigh||Leader of the Opposition||Cllr Woodley|
|Ann Holland||Southchurch||Community and Organisational Development||Cllr Gilbert|
|Nigel Folkard||Chalkwell||Children and Learning||Cllr Jones|
|Steven Habermel||Chalkwell||Enterprise, Tourism and Economic Development||Cllr Longley|
|Mark Flewitt||St Laurence||Housing, Planning and Regulatory Control||Cllr Norman|
|James Courtenay||Blenheim Park||Public Protection, Waste and Transport||Cllr Terry|
|Lesley Salter||Belfairs||Health and Adult Social Care||Cllr Moyies|
Having blogged only yesterday about the volatile relationships between members of Southend Borough Council’s Independent
Party Group, it seems that they aren’t the only ones with a talent for losing friends and alienating people.
You wouldn’t believe the things which find their way to my inbox. A lot of spam and Nigerian princes with millions of dollars, mostly, but occasionally something interesting appears. Today, for instance, it seems that a member of the Conservative group has seriously annoyed a Liberal Democrat councillor.
Nothing especially surprising there, but causing enough offence to prompt a particularly aggrieved complaint to John Lamb, local Conservative leader, is something of a slightly different order.
My good friend Julian Ware-Lane blogged last week that Southend’s Conservatives had selected their leader and deputy for when current leader Nigel Holdcroft steps down at the elections in May.
There aren’t any surprises therein — except that I haven’t seen anything yet on the matter from those few Conservative councillors who actively blog — with current deputy John Lamb to replace Holdcroft, and Southchurch Councillor Anne Holland as the new deputy.
The significance really depends on the state of affairs after May. If the Conservatives cling on to control — they won’t hold their majority, but depending on which way the wind blows the Independents or Lib Dems may prop up a Tory administration — then this will be the new leader and deputy of Southend Borough Council.
Which makes it all the more interesting that, as Julian pointed out, Cllr Holland doesn’t actually live in the Borough of Southend.