It’s time for dramatic gestures East Sussex County Council (ESCC) heard yesterday as Hastings’ councillor Godfrey Daniel called on the authority’s Conservative members to resign from their party.
He said it was time for members of the ruling Conservative group to reconcile what they believe in with what they do, “none of you came into this office as a councillor to make savage cuts to public services. Sometimes you need to make a symbolic gesture so why don’t you all resign from the Conservative party? Then you would get some publicity.”
Mr Godfrey told councillors: “I wonder if we are seeing the last rites of local government altogether? Basically that’s what the government is doing, they’re putting us into a position where we won’t exist…” He wondered if money given to local government in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s recent budget was done with one eye on a possible forthcoming General Election.
He pointed out that the Chancellor’s decision to make ‘one-off’ payments was not a sustainable position as the cash could not form part of the council’s budget simply because it was being given only for one year.
When it comes to setting next year’s council budget Mr Daniel made a plea for cross-party consultation in a bid to find consensus, to do otherwise he said would be to create ‘polarised debate’ with each of the three main parties each producing their own version of a budget with their own priorities.
Addressing Conservative members of the council he said: ” I think this is the time for you to do something fairly dramatic and make them wake up see what’s happening… I suggest, for Christmas you leave the Conservative party.”