Independent councillors boycott Wisbech mayor making in protest over the ‘arrogance’ of the Tories
17:59 20 May 2014
Independent councillors boycotted the historic mayor making ceremony in Wisbech to protest at the “arrogance of the Conservatives” that run the town council.
Four opposition councillors failed to turn up – or to send their apologies- for last Friday’s ceremony because they said they were fed up with the Conservatives choosing they mayor without an open debate.
Councillor Sam Hoy, the outgoing mayor, tweeted that the proposal was by an independent councillor and that a democratic vote had been held.
But the new mayor, Councillor Michael Hill, said he had been proposed by a Conservative, Jonathan Farmer (currently suspended by the ruling party group pending the outcome of a court case) and seconded by fellow Tory, Councillor David Oliver.
Independent councillor Dave Patrick, who boycotted the ceremony, said: “It’s supposed to be a non political thing and yet in the four years that I have been a councillor, the Tories have, without any discussion, among themselves, decided who its going to be.
“It should be discussed by all and sundry. They have a group meeting among themselves and they talk about who is going to be mayor. They don’t look at anybody else.
“It’s the arrogance of the Conservatives.”
Cllr Hoy said on Twitter: “If they want to boycott, fine, they are within their rights.
“The mayor was proposed by an independent but that’s not the point.”
She said they should have apologised for not turning up to the mayor making.
Town councillor Steve Tierney, and chairman of Wisbech Conservatives, denied that the mayor proposal was not democratic.
He said on Twitter: “Patrick either struggles to understand basic maths, or pretends to. Put up candidates, vote, most votes wins.
“I’ve already suggested Labour’s Reg Mee as deputy mayor next year.”
Cllr Hill, who has been a councillor for 11 years, said he was looking forward to his year in office with his wife Jane as consort.
In a recent blog Cllr Tierney wrote that any councillor was free to propose a mayor which is voted on by the full council.
“Yes, if one party has a majority then their votes will tend to win,” he said. “That’s how political majorities work. That’s how they are supposed to work.
“It may be that at some miserable time in future the Conservatives will lose control of the town council. “Come that day, the majority will be held by others and they will choose the mayor, as they should.
“But until that dystopian future they should probably stop whining, particularly if it’s pure hypocrisy.”