Wokingham Council to be led by a partnership of parties

Wokingham Council to be lead by a partnership of parties

Cllr Clive Jones, Leader of the Wokingham Liberal Democrats

A cross-party coalition of 28 councillors from three different factions has been formed at Wokingham Borough Council.

Twenty-three Liberal Democrats, three Labour party representatives and two independents will
officially be voted in as a new ‘partnership’ administration at the borough’s annual general meeting tomorrow (Thursday).

Wokingham’s Lib Dem leader Cllr Clive Jones is expected to take over leadership with Twyford’s Cllr Stephen Conway as his deputy.

Conversations around ‘forming a stable administration with support from the Labour and individual councillors,’ took place between Cllr Clive Jones and his party on the Saturday after the count, on Thursday, May 5.

He said: “We’d been sharing ideas for over two years in the hope that one day we would be taking over the running of the council. We were well prepared as over the past three local elections there had been an upward trajectory. We’ve won eight, then three, then five more seats.”

Although the partnership agreement now in place will see the Lib Dems take the lion’s share of the running of the administration, Cllr Jones said that it will work for all.

He said: “We are committed to fairness and to changing the way things have been done. It’s a partnership.

“The agreement we’ve made is that we will be fair but we have been very clear – it’s a Lib Dem lead but we are committed to consulting with them on major things and we have said ‘our door is always open.”

Cllr Rachel Burgess,  leader of the Labour Group Wokingham said:

“The Labour Group will work with other parties in the interests of our residents. I know from talking to so many residents on the doorstep that this is what people want to see in Wokingham Borough.  And this partnership arrangement is the best way to ensure effective cross-party working. 

“This partnership is democratically legitimate as it reflects the true make-up of the Council, and its councillors, elected by Wokingham’s voters.

“I am pleased that the Liberal Democrats say they want a constructive relationship with other political parties. Labour councillors will engage with Liberal Democrats in the same spirit.

“Each councillor and group retains absolute independence of voting in Council, so the arrangement also allows for constructive scrutiny of the ruling Liberal Democrat group. Effective opposition is vital for good local government and residents can be assured that Labour councillors will continue to provide effective and constructive opposition to the Liberal Democrats where this is needed.”

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