Earlier this week BH Living was the first to report that a vote of no confidence at next Tuesday’s full council meeting was being promoted by local Conservative Group leader Cllr. Drew Mellor.
The vote, if successful, would almost certainly result in the unseating of current BCP Council Leader Vikki Slade who hit back at her critics in a scathing response. Cllr Slade claimed that the vote was ill-timed and was a piece of ‘political gamesmanship’ on behalf of local conservatives who were keen to use the current international crisis and the untimely death of a local councillor to make political gain.
“I think it is unfair on the officers of the council to have to respond to political gameplay and instability when they are working under such pressure and [it is]a distraction for everyone”, she said.
Responding to criticism from the conservatives that her administration had been struggling to make important decisions, whilst she sought to pacify different factions of the ‘Unity Alliance’ (The Unity Alliance is a group of councillors made up of Liberal Democrats, Labour, Greens, Poole People’s Party and other independents who joined together to form the current administration), Cllr Slade said that her aim was to include as many views as possible, including those of the Conservative opposition.
“Our alliance has welcomed contributions on working parties and invited Conservative members to be part of these groups and as part of the overview and scrutiny process. Over half of the recommendations of this group have been implemented in our decisions. We have opened up democracy like never before. There is a very important role for a strong opposition in challenge and it’s disappointing that Cllr Mellor does not see the value in this.”
If the no confidence vote is successful on Tuesday, it will see Vikki Slade’s tenure as Council Leader end after just over a year of her taking on the role.
Underlining her achievements in her first year as leader, Cllr Slade went on to say “I am proud of a lot of what we have achieved – our climate plan, 153 points [which were]about to start consultation when this pandemic hit, our corporate strategy in place with delivery plans covering the next 5 years, the homeless reduction board and work to build social homes, and of course the decision to purchase the power station site which had been left by the former councils in private hands. We’ve also developed our new ‘Children’s Strategy’ to try and reduce the chances of young people coming into care whilst planning to invest in a new school for children with special needs. We’re also investing £80m to bring forward more sustainable travel options”, she said.
In further developments, one member of the Unity Alliance, Cllr Lesley Dedman (Ind) has published a letter today (5 June) on social media from Conservative Leader Cllr. Drew Mellor, sent to her in early April. In the letter Cllr. Mellor appears to make promises that there will not be any no-confidence vote from the Conservatives until a by-election in Christchurch Commons has taken place. The ward was previously held by Cllr Colin Bungey before his untimely death on April 1st.
In the letter Cllr Mellor assures Cllr. Dedman that ‘this is not the time for politics, but for adult discussion in the interests of the public”‘. The publication of the letter is set to send shockwaves through local Conservatives only four days ahead of the crucial no confidence vote next Tuesday 9 June.