Monday 12th April 2021,
North Yorks Enquirer

Another Indy Resignation

Another Indy Resignation

  • an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, updating readers on the latest changes at Scarborough Borough Council, plus a fresh analysis of the numbers game.

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Following the recent resignations from the Independent Group, by first Councillor Guy SMITH, shortly followed by Councillor Eileen MURPHY (follow those links for the full story), I can now confirm that Councillor Roxanne MURPHY has followed suit.

All three have been driven by a combination of lack of confidence in the Group Leader, Councillor Janet JEFFERSON, who has gone against all advice and supported the ARGOS regeneration proposal, which has failed to attract government funding. Scarborough & Whitby MP Robert GOODWILL has stated that “the reason why Scarborough’s bid for money from the government’s Future High Street Fund was unsuccessful is because it wasn’t strong enough”. More importantly, Councillor JEFFERSON has been unable to account for the ‘missing’ £20K from the receipts and payments relating to the KPMG DEVO Report .

But apparently the real beef is that Councillor JEFFERSON has refused to support the targets/victims of the recent round of abusive and threatening actions presently under Standards and Police investigation. It is reported to me that other members of the Independent Group are now considering their options.

All three resignees (highlighted in cursive script) have joined a new Group, the Yorkshire Coast Independent Alliance [Y.C.I.A.], comprising:

  • Councillor Neil HERITAGE (Newby Ward) – Group Leader
  • Councillor Sam CROSS – (Filey Ward) – Deputy Group Leader
  • Councillor Guy SMITH – (Northstead Ward)
  • Councillor Eileen MURPHY – (Newby Ward)
  • Councillor Roxanne MURPHY – (Seamer Ward)

Councillor Sam CROSS, Deputy Leader of the Yorkshire Coast Independent Alliance [Y.C.I.A.], told the Enquirer:

“I am pleased to welcome both Cllrs Roxanne and Eileen Murphy to the Group of true independents working for the people in these difficult times.”

Councillor Roxanne MURPHY was recently confirmed as Deputy Mayor 2021/22.

The new Mayor will be Councillor Eric BROADBENT [Lab.]. Councillor BROADBENT has previously served as Mayor in (2005/6).

The Council presently comprises:

 

This distribution of seats leaves the the present administration – the LAB./IND. alliance – in a very precarious position.

The Numbers Game

In the event of a Vote of No Confidence,  the figures are less than auspicious for Councillor SIDDONS:

13 Labour members, plus 7 members of the Independent Group = 20 votes.

Even with the support of the 2 Greens, the Leader can rely on only 22 votes.

It may just be that former Tory Councillor Helen MALLORY [Unaff.] would side with Councillor SIDDONS.

That would make 23 out of a Council of 46.

The Conservative 14, plus the two types of Independents outside of the Independent Group  – i.e.  Y.C.I.A. 5 + C.I.M. 4 = 9 votes) can also muster 23 votes – a tie.

But it is easy to imagine that the present Mayor, Councillor Hazel LYNSKEY [Con.] might turn renegade and support Labour, as she has done before in tight situations.

In any case, in the event of a tie, the Mayor has a casting vote, so if the Mayor does betray the Tories, Councillor SIDDONS would scrape back in. That would take the shine off Councillor LYNSKEY’s interminable Mayoralty.

However, only one more defection from the Independent Group (or even from Labour) would leave the LAB./IND. alliance short, and simultaneously take the Cons (14) plus the Y.C.I.A. + C.M.I. (10) up to 24 – a winning majority – always providing that Councillor MALLORY [Unaff.] does not break the habit of a political lifetime and go with Labour, thus bringing it back to 23 votes each.

Which brings us back to the Mayor. If Councillor LYNSKEY votes with the Party to which belongs (and has done so for many years) –  the Conservatives – then Councillor SIDDONS will be clearing his desk.

Two Points to Ponder

  1. Is the Mayor to be trusted?
  2. See if you can guess the identity of the next defector.

On a lighter note:

How many readers were reninded (as I was), watching today’s Cabinet meeting, of this wonderful clip from the TV of yesteryear?

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