Lewes cross party alliance ‘doomed to failure’ says Conservative leader

New Lewes District Council Conservative leader Isabelle Linington
New Lewes District Council Conservative leader Isabelle Linington

The Conservative leader of Lewes District Council says plans for a cross-party alliance are ‘doomed to failure’ as opposition councillors unveil plans to take control of the authority.

Earlier today (June 19),  Lewes District Council’s Green Party, Liberal Democrat, Labour and Independent groups confirmed they will be joining forces in an effort to take over leadership at a full council meeting on July 15.

The announcement has met with heavy criticism the council’s current Conservative leader Isabelle Linington, who accused group leaders of ‘playing fast and loose with public services’.

Cllr Linington said: “The Conservatives are the largest group on Lewes District Council and as such it is essential that we continue to provide the stability and consistency that our residents need and expect.

“This hotchpotch of an alliance is doomed to failure.

“Cllr Nicholson and Cllr MacCleary are playing fast and loose with public services – they can’t even agree on who will lead this alliance and have fudged it by taking turns.

“I would urge all councillors to pause, reflect and step away to avoid leaving the council in a shambolic mess.

“Our record for cross-party working is second to none and I’ve already made it clear that we will continue to listen to any individual councillor or group that brings forward constructive ideas for our district.

“Local people living across the district deserve council leadership that they can trust and have confidence in, not a political recipe for disaster.”

Between them, the four groups in the alliance control 22 out of 41 council seats, with the remaining 19 held by the Conservatives.

The Green Party holds nine of these seats, while the Liberal Democrats hold eight.

The alliance also relies on the support of Labour’s three councillors and the council’s two Independents.

According to the cross-party statement, Green Party leader Zoe Nicholson is to be nominated as council leader, while Liberal Democrat group leader James MacCleary will serve as her deputy.

Labour and Independent councillors would also have cabinet positions, the statement says.