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Council party pushed to the fringes

Staffordshire | News | Published:

The Conservative party has been pushed to the fringes of a council in Staffordshire after being stripped of all chairmen's roles on committees.

The Conservative party has been pushed to the fringes of a council in Staffordshire after being stripped of all chairmen's roles on committees.

The move has been branded "undemocratic" by a senior councillor.

Cannock Chase Council's annual meeting last night saw a Labour councillor co-opted as the new chairman, replacing Tory John Beddows for the next 12 months.

The Liberal Democrats, who have 15 councillors, will rule the council with a minority administration. Their agreement with the council's two Independent councillors gives them a majority of four.

Labour were confirmed as the official opposition with 13 council seats while the Tories, who have 11 seats, were removed from chairpersons roles on all statutory committees like scrutiny, planning and licensing.

The move follows talks between the Lib Dem and Labour groups in the run up to the meeting.

Outgoing chairman John Beddows, who spoke of "12 months of bottled-up anger while being impartial" in his departing speech, branded the move undemocratic.

But the Lib Dem leader, Councillor Neil Stanley, claimed it was a constitutional requirement for the main opposition to chair the scrutiny committees.

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It was also announced that Councillor Beddows' year as chairman raised £4,208 for his chosen cause in Cannock Hospital.

The council cabinet for the coming year was confirmed as Neil Stanley (leader), Daniel Davies (economic development and planning), Phil Freeman (housing), Tony Williams (environment), Pat Williams (town centre regeneration), Wendy Yates (health), Mick Grocott (culture and sport), Chris Collis (corporate investment).

Ahead of this month's district elections the former Liberal Democrat and Conservative administration on the district was ended, after the Tory group put forward its own budget.

The alliance had been in place for nearly seven years.

The elections saw the Tories make three gains and Labour lose one seat.

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