Tories launch second takeover bid at BCP Council with coalition struggling for numbers

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bcp council no confidence vote
Drew Mellor has launched another challenge at Vikki Slade for control of BCP Council

ANOTHER vote of no confidence in the leadership of BCP Council will be called later this month, three months after a previous attempt failed.

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The Conservative opposition group agreed at a meeting last Thursday night to bring forward the motion against the ruling Unity Alliance, accusing it of making decisions “without due regard” to the views of the public or councillors, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The move follows the decision of Hamworthy councillor Julie Bagwell to leave the coalition administration over what she called “a continued catalogue of catastrophic policy decisions”.

Conservative councillors have submitted the motion ahead of the 15th September meeting of the full council.

It will be the second time they have put forward a vote of no confidence in council leader Cllr Vikki Slade since Cllr Drew Mellor was appointed its group leader in March.

The first vote, held in June, failed after council chair Cllr David Flagg used his casting vote to break a deadlock.

But the decision of Cllr Bagwell to leave the Unity Alliance and become an Independent, coupled with the deaths of Lib Dem Cllr Pete Parrish and Christchurch Independent Cllr Colin Bungey, has left the coalition with just 34 out of the 74 elected councillors.

At their meeting last Thursday the Conservative opposition agreed to put forward the second vote, saying there was now a “high level of frustration and mistrust” with the council’s leadership.

“In recent weeks, a number of decisions have been taken by the BCP Council administration without proper consultation with the residents and businesses who will be affected,” the motion will say.

“Ward councillors were only consulted or informed once plans were set to be implemented. This has resulted in a high level of public frustration and mistrust.

“It is clear that the ‘Unity Alliance’ administration is making decisions and plans without due regard to resident, business, visitor or councillor comment or suggestions.”

Should the vote pass, Cllr Slade will lose her position as leader and a subsequent vote will be held to appoint a new one.

Cllr Slade said she would be working in the coming days to try to resolve issues to prevent the vote being held.

“The Conservative group has announced that it is bringing another vote of no confidence in the administration of BCP Council, following the sad death of another Unity Alliance councillor and in the absence of by-elections to restore the democratic deficit,” she said.

“This is incredibly bad for the residents of the area, for business and for the staff who have been working so hard throughout the pandemic.

“They deserve far better and I will be doing all I can over the next few days to try and resolve this so that we can provide reassurance and stability at this difficult time and, of course, to retain and restore the confidence of elected members.”

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