Labour ousted in Calderdale Council no confidence vote

Halifax Town Hall Councillor Steven Baines has been appointed as the new leader of Calderdale Council

A vote of no confidence in Calderdale Council's Labour administration has been passed, resulting in the council coming under Conservative control.

The vote was passed by 24 to 22 at a full council meeting.

Tory councillor Stephen Baines has taken over from Labour's Tim Swift as the new leader of the council.

Mr Baines said the vote was a result of the Labour administration's "total disregard for what the general public has been saying".

Calderdale coup

It was a row over crossroads and parking that finally broke down any relationship Calderdale's Labour group had with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Any minority controlled authority must fear the wrath of a coalition between the other parties, but in Calderdale this has been coming for months.

In February a coalition budget was passed when the full council voted on a Lib Dem-Tory pact.

This was branded as hastily put together by the ruling party, and in May it looked like the Labour group may just take the council but they missed out by one seat.

What does this mean for Calderdale?

Well proposals such as reversing charges for evening parking in Halifax will be looked at again, and the new leader hasn't ruled out considering controversial proposals on sick pay.

The Labour group say they are certain this will win them seats in the May election, but the new Conservative administration say residents will see a better run authority, and they will be hoping that means more votes for them in the ballot box in nine months' time.

Mr Swift said he was "shocked and astonished", describing the decision to move to a vote of no confidence as a "shabby deal that's been cooked up behind closed doors [which will] cost Calderdale dear".

Calderdale council is made up of 51 elected councillors - 25 Labour, 19 Conservative, six Liberal Democrat and one Independent. It will now be under Conservative minority control.

The council serves Brighouse, Elland, Halifax, Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge, and Todmorden. Following the vote it is the only Conservative-led council in West Yorkshire.

'Only option'

James Baker, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, said councillors were left no choice but to vote Labour out.

He said: "Labour were running a minority administration and they promised the people of Calderdale they would listen to the majority will of the council, that they would listen to the people of Calderdale over key issues. Unfortunately they have not done that.

"The only option we have under the cabinet system is to sack the leader and appoint a new one, and that's what has happened tonight."

In a statement, the Calderdale Liberal Democrat group said it would not form a coalition with the Tories but would support a Conservative and Independent coalition.

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