Tories put forward elected Mayor proposal for Pendle

Nelson Town Hall.'Photo Ben Parsons
Nelson Town Hall.'Photo Ben Parsons

Conservative councillors have called for changes to be made to the way Pendle Council is run following this year’s May local elections.

The 19-strong Conservative team is calling for an Elected Mayor of Pendle, to replace the current Leader of the Council - a role currently held by Labour’s Coun. Mohammed Iqbal.

The move will be debated at Pendle’s next Full Council meeting on Thursday, October 15th.

Pendle’s Conservative Leader, Joe Cooney said: “We won more votes than any other party at the last election, over 4,000 more than Labour, though Labour and the Liberal Democrats had more votes when added together than us.

“The Liberal Democrats decided that they did not want me to continue as leader of the council, so they combined with Labour and voted the Conservative Party out.

“I think that it is fundamentally wrong that the Liberal Democrats, who only managed just over 5,000 votes in total, can decide what is best for the whole of Pendle, so we are proposing a new system which gives the decision to the people of Pendle.”

The new system would see residents get to choose who leads their council, with everyone in the borough getting a vote on who should get the top job, rather than it being chosen by fellow councillors.

Deputy Conservative Leader, Paul White, said: “We have had literally hundreds of people contact us since the election saying how unhappy they were, so we owe this to those people who voted for us.

“The number of Liberal Democrat voters who have been in touch to say this isn’t what they wanted has been quite staggering too.

“We’re going to take this to Full Council next week and ask them to agree it, but if they don’t, we plan to trigger a referendum which will allow the people of Pendle to have their say on whether what has happened is what they wanted, or whether they would rather have a system which gives them the leadership they actually voted for.”

The Liberal Democrats are currently attempting to move to another form of Governance structure, called the committee system, which the Conservatives are opposed to.

Conservative Group Whip, Graham Waugh, said: “We believe the committee system puts the Liberal Democrats further in control, and this is not what the people of Pendle voted for.

“The committee structure sees all of the parties form the ruling committee.

“As the vote between Labour and the Conservatives in Pendle is always close, and because we often believe in different things, the deciding vote will usually be the Liberal Democrats on most important issues.

“They are quite simply trying to cling to power with no mandate whatsoever.”

Coun. Cooney added: “We believe that this is the most democratic and accountable method of governance for Pendle Borough Council.

“With the Mayoral system, what you see is what you get. The person with the largest vote, voted for by the people of Pendle, rather than other councillors, runs the council.”