Labour fails to take power

LABOUR politicians have launched a fresh attack on Ipswich town chiefs, claiming they are acting undemocratically in continuing to run a coalition administration.

LABOUR politicians have launched a fresh attack on Ipswich town chiefs, claiming they are acting undemocratically in continuing to run a coalition administration.

At Ipswich council's annual meeting on Wednesday evening, Labour accused the Tories and Lib Dems of ignoring the wishes of the electorate following this month's local elections.

Labour are now the biggest single party on the council, having gained three seats taking them to 21 while the Tories now stand on 19 and the Lib Dems on eight.

However the Tories and Lib Dems have opted to continue a coalition that has lasted since 2004, nominating Tory group leader Liz Harsant to head the council.

The move was opposed by Labour who nominated group leader David Ellesmere to take the top post, arguing the people of Ipswich had voted for change.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Ellesmere said: “At the elections on May 1, Labour were the clear winners taking seats from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

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“The electorate decisively rejected the policies of the current administration; the number of flats being built and lack of affordable homes, crumbling roads, empty shops in the town centre and they voted for change.

“The people of Ipswich voted for a new direction on May 1, instead they got the same administration, kept in power by a back room deal.”

Liz Harsant said Labour relinquished the opportunity to run a minority administration in September 2004.

She said: “When we took over with the Liberal Democrats they [Labour] didn't think we would be able to cope but we did exceedingly well and we are still doing exceedingly well.”

Mrs Harsant pointed to figures showing that out of all elected councillors across the authority the Tories actually had the most support with 40 per cent of the vote (37,759 votes) to Labour's 33.7 pc (31,306) and the Lib Dems 22 pc (20,571 votes).

She said: “The Conservative and Lib Dem partnership commands 62 pc of the vote - a much more significant mandate than Labour achieved during its long rule.”

Following a vote, Liz Harsant was elected leader of the council.

Are the Tories and Lib Dems right to continue a coalition? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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