Reading this page you might have formed the opinion that Stockport Liberal Democrats are somewhat predictable. Not so – on occasion they really retain the capacity for surprise.
We were recently surprised, for example, to read a press release in which Liberal Leader Cllr Mark Hunter has been attacking the Labour leadership for taking the unprecedented and unnecessary step of allowing them a vote and a say in a major Council decision- on the M60-A6 link road next steps.
Apparently the Liberal Democrats are not in favour of openness, debate and democracy– nor having a say themselves – on such issues: all things we find both surprising and interesting.
On this one, the number and nature of spurious claims are such that we have broken them down as a list:
Claim: ‘Cabinet split down the middle’
Three cabinet members were against proceeding to ‘next steps’, however we are comfortable with a diversity of opinion within our group on big issues, and welcome debate and scrutiny.
Claim: ‘Leader ‘freezes’ at difficult decisions’
To take the step of allowing the whole Council a say and vote on this issue is unprecedented. It would have been easy to wave the report through with a Cabinet majority. However, we chose to allow all councillors to have their say and scrutinise the Council’s policy (even Liberal Democrats).
Unlike the Liberal Democrats – when in power the Labour Leadership has been unafraid of being straightforward with the council and the electorate across a range of issues – and have a strong record of making timely and difficult decisions – not simply based upon electoral calculations.
Many of these decisions had to be taken because of Lib Dem inaction over many years in administration.
Claim: ‘a note had to be circulated to Councillors on the morning of the meeting explaining that their role would be advisory only’
A note was circulated – at the request of the Liberal Democrats, (we have the text and email chain) to clarify the procedure of bringing a neutral report to a vote.
This was not to do with the vote’s advisory nature, which was made clear in the meeting papers published a week in advance of the meeting available here, and the decision to allow a vote was immediately advertised by our press release ahead of this here.
Claim: Labour’s decision to allow a vote and debate ‘will result in yet further delays to this long awaited relief road’.
This is simply not true and this assurance was also provided to the Liberal Democrats during the meeting.
…..if the Liberal Democrats have a problem with openness and debate, then so be it. We are happy being attacked for this approach, something we were elected upon, and something we will continue taking a bold lead upon in Stockport.
…plenty to be getting on with from the playbook. We just have a feeling there may be more in the new year…