The Conservative Council Leader has lately been referencing a so-called “Labour-Lib Dem Coalition” that allegedly ran South Gloucestershire sometime. No such Coalition ever existed.
Labour Group Leader Councillor Pat Rooney made this speech to Cabinet this afternoon which clearly spells out why this is a fantasy.
“I have heard the Leader allude to something called “the Labour/Lib Dem Coalition” that apparently used to run South Gloucestershire. I have been involved for quite a few years and this period eluded me, so it needs some scrutiny.
I suspect the Leader is mis-describing the three years when we had a committee system with no overall control, from 2012 to 2015.
Was that period really a coalition, which is defined as an alliance of distinct parties, persons, or states for joint action?
Of course not, and Conservative councillors know it.
For a start we had a Conservative leader throughout that period.
Let me take you down memory lane and look back at some of the decisions made then.
• On 18th July 2012 – at the very first ordinary Council meeting of the committee system period, Conservative and Lib Dem councillors united against Labour to support the closure of Highwood Road to most traffic.
• On 12th September 2012 Conservative and Lib Dem councillors united against Labour on Adults and Housing Committee to commission all home care from the independent sector.
• On 5th November 2012 Conservative and Lib Dem councillors united against Labour on Policy & Resources Committee to remove the words ‘service cuts’ from the budget consultation document.
• In late 2012 Labour and Lib Dem councillors had very different views on parishing Kingswood and Staple Hill. I suspect we still do.
• On 16th October 2013 Conservative and Lib Dem councillors once again united against Labour on the Highwood Road issue.
• On 11th December 2013 Council approved its Core Strategy. Not all Labour and Lib Dem councillors voted together.
• On 3rd December 2014 Conservative and Lib Dem councillors united against Labour on the CYP committee to close the Grange School.
• On 10th December 2014 Conservative and Lib Dem councillors united against Labour at Council to confirm that school’s closure.
With this record perhaps we could talk about the ‘Tory/Lib Dem Coalition’. But we don’t. Because it is not true.
The fact is – and the leader knows it – is that every single budget and nearly every major decision was negotiated between all three parties, not the two smallest.
A final piece of evidence. In the period from May 2012 to May 2015 Council debated 13 motions. Of these 11 are minuted as being ‘passed unanimously’.
The idea that the smallest parties were calling the shots at any point in the past dozen year is false and frankly ludicrous.
As we get into election period I urge opponents – with more hope than expectation – to let the facts get in the way of their stories.”