Thursday, 8 January 2009

Labour in Leeds throw their toys out of the pram

. Today's Yorkshire Evening Post carries a story of the most remarkable display of petty party-political foot-stamping by the Labour group. It concerns the nomination of the next Lord Mayor who in this case is a Councilor Judith Elliot; traditionally the main parties take it in turns to fill the post however, Elliot is a non-party independent and it was due this time to be Labour's 'turn'.

Cllr Keith Wakefield, leader of the City Council's Labour Group, summed up the pettiness of Labour's position;

"I have no problem with with Judith Elliot wanting to be Lord Mayor. But I do take exception to the fact it's at our expense."

Replying the leader of the Liberal Democrat group, Cllr Richard Brett, pointed out that Labour have provided 15 of the last 28 Lord Mayor's since 1980 and that the Liberal Democrats had to wait 20 years to provide their first one;

"It was a source of deep unhappiness that we were kept waiting. Perhaps because of our background we have sympathy with smaller parties".

Brett confirmed that Labour will have a chance to hold the post for 2010/11. A motion to allow smaller parties to hold the post was passed at full council. Elliot is a member of Morley Borough Independents which Labour claims wants to separate Morley from Leeds (though it is worth noting that this group took seats off Labour so you can perhaps see where the bitterness comes from). Commenting on the row she said it is "absolutely not true" that the group wants to separate from Leeds;

"We are doing our utmost both for our own wards and for the whole of Leeds so that is complete nonsense".

Having cast my eye over their website I can't see anything which suggests they are above and beyond a residents group; there is the usual focus in extremis on local issues but that is to be expected.

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