Burnley's Green Party leader hits out at Labour group on first day of new council regime

The Leader of the Green Party on Burnley Council has expressed his party's 'reluctance' at voting for the new regime.

Thursday, 30th May 2019, 2:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th May 2019, 4:00 pm
The leader of the Green Party on Burnley Council Coun. Andy Fewings

Coun. Andy Fewings said he was 'disappointed' that the Labour party had declined a proposal for a shared executive of three Labour and three non Labour councillors.

And he accused the Labour party of punishing residents for voting for other parties.

Coun. Fewings said: "Instead of asking voters why they didn't vote for them, the Burnley Labour party are punishing residents for voting for others.

"The Greens are leading calls for cross-party cooperation. If Labour cared about anything other than itself, they would engage to avoid paralysing council services.”

The proposal included a plan to have the four committee chairman and vice chairman positions split across the other parties The Green party would not have taken any of the positions.

At a meeting of the full council last night former Mayor and Burnley and Padiham Independent Party councillor Charlie Briggs was voted in as the new leader.

Detailed talks were held prior to the meeting after Labour lost five seats in the borough elections and also its town hall majority at a previous meeting of the full council. And all opposition councillors voted against re-appointing Labour leader Coun. Mark Townsend.

Coun. Fewings added: "I called upon the Burnley and Padiham Independent party to appoint three Labour executive members.

"The offer was made but Labour rejected the positions and so two Liberal Democrats and two Conservatives took up the posts.

“I am pleased that it was agreed that the committee chairs and vice-chairs would be split between the parties, in the interests of scrutiny and democracy, which will mean two Labour Party chairs and two vice-chairs.

"This does mean also one UKIP and one Lib Dem chairman, and two Burnley and Padiham Independent party vice-chairs."

Coun. Fewings added that the two Green councillors had voted for this proposal with 'great reluctance' adding: "We have prioritised the smooth functioning of the council, its ability to deliver the services residents need and for those actions to receive democratic scrutiny, over party political interests and our extreme discomfort at having UKIP in this position.”