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Wolverhampton coalition collapses

The joint Conservative/Lib Dem administration running Wolverhampton City Council seems to have collapsed. This follows a Lib Dem councillor, Cllr Claire Darke, resigning as Cabinet Member for Schools. At present there is still a minority Conservative administration. There are 25 Conservatives, 30 Labour councillors and five Lib Dems. There is a Lib Dem Mayor. So it doesn't necessarily mean Labour would win a vote to take over - should they choose to press a vote of confidence.

Cllr Darke's reasons seem a bit confused. She says that it would be "morally wrong" to continue as Labour gained a seat in a Council byelection in July. But this month she was still turning up to a Cabinet Meeting last Wednesday and did not raise any objections. If it was really a moral issue why wait until September 10 to resign when the byelection was on July 29?

Cllr Darke also objects to spending cuts - but, of course, a Labour administration would have to implement cuts as well unless they massively increased the Council Tax. There are expected to be cuts in Government grant of £70 million. At present Wolverhampton raises £93.5 million in Council Tax. So Labour could avoid spending cuts by putting up Council Tax by 75%. But I don't think that is what they propose. Is that what Cllr Darke would like?

Finally, there seems to be a bit of personal vanity involved. Cllr Darke says:

“Our partnerships agreements have been ignored or appropriated by the Conservatives with no due respect given to us as individuals or as a party.

The Wolverhampton Express and Star reports adds:

The Lib Dems wanted new office space befitting a party that is in power rather than the windowless “cupboard” they have at the Civic Centre. It has not happened.


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