Labour still in control in Ipswich

LABOUR today remains in control in Ipswich after using the absence of a Liberal Democrat councillor to push through its nominations to lead the borough council.

LABOUR today remains in control in Ipswich after using the absence of a Liberal Democrat councillor to push through its nominations to lead the borough council.

It used the casting vote of outgoing mayor Penny Breakwell to ensure its nominee, Roger Fern, was elected as first citizen for the next year.

Opposition Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors then sat on their hands to allow the appointment of an all-Labour executive at the head of the authority.

All 23 Labour councillors were at last night's meeting but Liberal Democrat Louise Gooch was unable to attend because of a family engagement.

That meant there were just 23 opposition councillors - and with the vote finely hung Mrs Breakwell used her casting vote to support her political colleagues.

The Conservatives - with Lib Dem support - had nominated long-serving councillor Billy Wright to serve as mayor.

Most Read

Conservative group leader Dale Jackson refused to say whether his group would seek to overturn the decisions at the next council meeting on July 14 when all opposition councillors should be present.

“We shall have to see what happens. I don't know whether we will try to overturn the executive or not. We're all in for a very interesting time.”

Labour said it had used its casting vote on behalf of its voters in Ipswich - and on behalf of many of those who had voted Liberal Democrat.

Council leader Peter Gardiner issued a statement saying: “We make no apologies for standing up for them (Labour voters) and what they elected us to do.

“We have also stood up for those people who voted Liberal Democrat expecting them to oppose the Tories.

“By attempting to put the Tories in power Inga Lockington and her councillors have kicked these people in the teeth.”

Liberal Democrat group leader Mrs Lockington said the statement, which was printed in advance of the meeting, proved that Labour was two faced.

“Just before the meeting started David Ellesmere (Labour's deputy leader) was asking us whether we would support them and was offering us seats on the executive.

“All the time he had this nasty little statement in his back pocket - it shows just how untrustworthy they are,” she said.

“They knew that Louise Gooch had a long-standing family appointment with her husband and children - and Labour chose to use that to force their own people into the top jobs when the voters of Ipswich rejected them.”

nWhat do you think of Labour retaining power at Civic Centre? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter