Labour frozen out of decision making
LABOUR has been frozen out of Ipswich's key decision-making body after leaking controversial details about bus services to The Evening Star.The executive at Ipswich council is now made up completely of Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors after the Tories claimed they could not trust Labour opposition leader David Ellesmere.
By Paul Geater
LABOUR has been frozen out of Ipswich's key decision-making body after leaking controversial details about bus services to The Evening Star.
The executive at Ipswich council is now made up completely of Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors after the Tories claimed they could not trust Labour opposition leader David Ellesmere.
Council leader Liz Harsant said: “We felt we could not trust someone who leaked confidential information about the bus company - and whose party ran such a dirty campaign in Westgate ward earlier this month.
“Other councils don't have opposition members on their executive, or cabinet, and we felt it would be best to follow that lead.
“If Labour don't like it then they should look back at how they have behaved over recent months.”
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Mr Ellesmere said the decision meant Labour's voice would not be heard when key decisions were taken.
He said: “Many people in Ipswich will not be able to understand why the political party which won most seats at the last election will now be completely excluded from the vast majority of the decisions made by this council.”
It was not sensible to punish the party over the Ipswich Buses affair, because the papers had not be released to the executive in any case.
“I don't worry about them talking about trust. If we had not released those papers would anyone have known about the threat to the bus services?
“There was nothing on them to say they were confidential, and if they've got rid of me for that then I'm proud to have stood up for the bus service,” he said.
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Andrew Cann said his party would have been happy for Labour to remain on the executive - but could understand the Tories' hostility.
He said: “We concern the Tories' concerns over trusting Labour, but we would have been happy for them to retain their seat in the interests of open government.
“However the Conservatives were adamant on this point and so far as we were concerned it was more important to ensure key Liberal Democrat policies were adopted by the council than to break the deal over this issue.”