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Lab/Lib Dem coalition takes charge at Kirklees after opposing parental choice

Light_r Cllr Robert Light, Conservative Group Leader on Kirklees Council, explains how his minority administration has been voted down - as Labour and the Lib Dems combined to stop parents deciding school plans.

Last night, I resigned as Leader of Kirklees Council and my Cabinet resigned their posts after we were defeated in a vote of no confidence.

A coalition of Labour and Liberal Democrats has now taken over.

The reason for the row was our education plans. We wanted the people of Kirklees to have their say on plans for the future of schools because we think parents are the best people to decide on their children's education.

However, it was made clear at last night's council meeting that other parties don't share that view.

We were proposing, in what we think was a ground breaking initiative, to hold a referendum over secondary school provision in North Kirklees. It would have involved a postal ballot, probably in the Spring.

The intention would have been that parents of children under 16 residing or attending schools in the North Kirklees area would have been eligible for one vote each in the referendum and parents would have been able to register to vote in the referendum.

Parents would then have been given two options for the provision of secondary schools in North Kirklees, both of which were significantly different to previous proposals.

Those proposals generated an unprecedented number of responses from parents and the new options would have taken account of many of the issues raised.

Now though Labour and the Liberal Democrats have decided they know better than parents do – indeed one councillor said at the council meeting that parents were not qualified to make these decisions.

We believe in democracy and wanted everyone to make their thoughts clear. We're sorry and disappointed that the other parties were more interested in political point-scoring than the future of children in Kirklees and we will now fight the new leaders all the way.


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