There is no secret deal between us

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Calderdale Labour’s insistence that there is a “secret” deal between ourselves and the Conservatives for them to run Calderdale Council reveals two things, to my mind, about the Labour group on Calderdale Council.

First, that they themselves are secretive and, because it is the way that they behave, they assume that everyone else behaves the same way. Our arrangement to support the Conservatives and the Independent to take control of Calderdale Council was agreed in the hours running up to the Council meeting and it is exactly as we’ve described it in our Press Release (and on our website), nothing more and nothing less. We’ve been invited to attend Informal Cabinet and to receive copies of draft reports, and we’ll look at this as it happens.

Labour Councillors will know the current issues being considered by the Council because they’ve been running the Council since May 2010 (in collaboration with us until May 2013). But they will also know what they had been keeping “secret” (ie away from other Councillors). As Liberal Democrats, we want more open government and more cross-party working so that there are as few “secrets” and surprises as possible.

Secondly, Labour Councillors seemed to be really surprised (and angry) at losing control of the Council in July. This underlines and highlights the reason that they lost control of the Council. They were not listening to other Councillors or to local people – especially over the two big issues (parking charges and Hipperholme cross-roads), and the fact that having agreed the Council’s budget in February, they thought that they could change the elements of it that they didn’t like (eg. parking charges).

Labour are not yet looking beyond their anger to reflect on why they lost control. They seem to assume that they can do what they like. I fear that, if they do get control of the council without cross-party support, then local people will see a lot more of the “you’ll do what I say” type of attitude and behaviour.

Coun Janet Battye

Leader of Liberal Democrat group