Sam Blewett and Sam Gelder
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
A coalition has been ruled out of the question because the Residents’ Association (RA) did not want to seize power, according to the “saddened” Conservative leader.
The running of the council will be a “nightmare”, according to an election expert, as the Tories will control it alone with the small majority of 22 seats compared to the RAs 19.
Havering’s Tory leader, who is set to run the council, Cllr Roger Ramsey revealed that the RA “don’t want to take the administration”.
He said: “Someone’s got to do it. The number one priority is not to disturb the running of the council. It’s going to be a tough four years with austerity, maybe that’s why they feel apprehensive about getting involved.
“If people stand offering policies the idea is they are in a position to carry them forward. I am shocked and saddened they don’t want to participate.
“If they wanted to put their stamp on the council they had their opportunity to do it.”
But RA leader Cllr Clarence Barrett said the decision was made to avoid a “decision-making paralysis”.
He said: “I think having different parties in a coalition can sometimes hinder decision making. What we don’t want to end up with is decision-making paralysis.
“By having a strong opposition, this also increases the capacity of all members to be involved in a scrutinising role.”
Stefan Swift, a political researcher for the London Communications Agency, said: “It’s going to be a nightmare, particularly around the budget meetings. There’s another four years of budget cuts and it’s already been difficult.”
The only person who will challenge Cllr Ramsey for leadership at the Wednesday council meeting is Independent Residents’ Group leader Cllr Jeff Tucker.
He said: “The people have voted for change but there’s going to be little or no change. I’m here to stand up and challenge the administration.”
But with only five councillors, Cllr Tucker would have to win major cross party support to be win the leadership.