Conservative Leader says coalition between Independents and Labour 'is clearly disappointing'


The newly elected Leader of the Conservative Group in Cheshire East has expressed her disappointment that the Independent Group have decided to join forces with the Labour Party to take control of the Council.

The Conservatives lost their majority on Cheshire East Council at the local elections on May 2nd for the first time since the council was formed in April 2009.

As a result the Conservatives now occupy 34 of the 82 seats, whilst Labour have 25, Independent candidates have 19 and Liberal Democrats have 4.

Cllr Janet Clowes, who replaced Rachel Bailey as Conservative Group Leader following her resignation last week, said "Following a week of intense discussion and negotiations with both group Leaders and defining a solution that was acceptable to both the Labour Group Leader and myself on Friday, the decision of the Independent Group to form a coalition with the Labour Party is clearly disappointing.

"It was evident throughout the Local Election campaign that residents are frustrated and angry over the failure of Government to deliver Brexit.

"We saw this on the doorstep and I believe it influenced many residents in the polling stations. However, voting on national issues has now resulted in many committed Conservative councillors, who worked tirelessly for their constituents, losing their positions.

"We now have in Councillor Corcoran, a Labour Council Leader at the helm who has openly expressed through social media, his opposition to Brexit and his ardent support for Jeremy Corbyn.

"Together with local Conservatives, I share the frustration of residents over the Westminster Brexit impasse but am deeply sceptical that hard-working Cheshire East tax payers in areas such as Knutsford, Wilmslow and Alderley Edge really want the hard-left in control of their Council.

"Through our Scrutiny functions we will ensure that the new administration is held to account and residents' best interests are represented."

Labour group leader Sam Corcoran said "It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the local Tories resort to negative personal attacks on the Labour Leader. Isn't it time we united to tackle climate change?"

He added "Politicians will disagree on many issues, but there are issues on which we can unite.

"Rather than talk about disagreements that came up during the election campaign, I want to talk about a significant area of agreement – Climate change. I was pleased to see a commitment in Conservative election literature to make Cheshire East Council carbon neutral by 2025. I was even more pleased to see that following a motion put forward by Jeremy Corbyn, Parliament declared an environment and climate emergency.

"We can tackle climate change and win, but it needs to be addressed on an international scale, a national scale, a local scale and an individual scale. Cheshire East Council and every resident of Cheshire East has a part to play in that. We can set the agenda. We can change behaviours. We can change minds and hearts. Or we can carry on as we are and change the climate for the worse.

"By acting together on climate change and showing leadership on this issue we can rebuild the reputation of politicians, rebuild our economy and safeguard our planet.

"I believe that climate change is the greatest challenge facing out generation and it is a challenge I intend to meet."




Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Julian Barlow
Monday 13th May 2019 at 9:58 pm
Phew, what a relief. After years of an utterly inept Tory council, we’re finally going to address.......drum roll please........climate change. Yes this monumental global issue, a resolution to which continues eludes the most powerful leaders on the planet, is at last going to be resolved by CEC.

It’s certainly an ambitious goal, but perhaps Councillor Corcoran could work his way up to saving the planet via fixing some pot holes and painting some yellow lines.
Dave Cash
Monday 13th May 2019 at 10:41 pm
No Janet, the CEC Electorate are just fed up with the various cock ups of CEC over several years, hence the swing the Independents.
Rod Menlove
Tuesday 14th May 2019 at 7:39 am
It is interesting that Sam mentions little else apart from climate change. What actions he has in mind we will see but I trust that he will give credit to the Conservative administration for wide ranging action to reduce the Cheshire East carbon footprint. The carbon reduction plan target was an ambitious -25% and exceeded with a -44% reduction; the street lighting conversion to LED saves 85%-90% electricity as does the traffic light LED conversion; residual household waste goes to generate heat and power not landfill; later this year food waste will go in the green/brown bin for anaerobic digestion composting; solar panels installed at Westfields and planned for Cledford Lane. All this shows the leadership that Sam aspires to so we all look forward to his plan of action.
Jonathan Follows
Tuesday 14th May 2019 at 7:53 am
Janet shares the delusion and wishful thinking of her predecessor that in some way it's not their fault and once this "Brexit thing" is completed everything will return to normal and Cheshire East can be controlled by Conservatives again.

Dream on.

I haven't seen "hard left" tendencies from our Labour councillors either. I don't subscribe to some of their views and don't vote Labour, but then again I haven't voted Conservative since 1992 and little I see from Janet and her colleagues is going to change that in the future.

I'm glad of this outcome, although of course now Labour+Independent have to prove to us how they're different and how they're going to work for us in the next few years.
Roger Bagguley
Tuesday 14th May 2019 at 9:33 am
Just for the record whilst out canvassing over the last month or so Brexit was not discussed. However, it was often the case people expressed concerns for what they have read or heard of in Private Eye, "Wrotten Boroughs."

It is interesting that Janet Clowes chooses the people of Knutsford, Alderley Edge and Wilmslow as being those likely to be concerned the new council will have a Labour leader. Clearly a notion there exists a class divide is being exploited here for political gain.

Back to the recent local elections and my time spent on the doorsteps: It is clear a social revolution is going on and politics is changing for good. The new rich are not old fashioned Tories and Janet and Co. need to latch on to this if they are not to become an extinct species.
Nick Jones
Tuesday 14th May 2019 at 9:55 am
Just a quick reality check Janet Clowes… You don’t deserve to be the CEC Council leader... It is not yours or Rachel Bailey’s gift to give… Similarly until the evidenced flawed cabinet system, and practice of CEC Companies paying its Cllrs / directors remuneration, neither does Sam Corcoran, but he probably will have a more open approach to change. The ‘tax –punished’, disillusioned voters suffered enough from CEC hollow promises, selective deafness, duplicitous conduct and Brexit aside; Wilmslow voters informed you ‘enough was enough’ and voted independent. Tory supporting residents suffering the most here! just review the CEC election results in Alderley Edge and Wilmslow ? they speak volumes.
Wake up and smell the coffee! Look to change! But remember even if you are tasked with the CEC Scrutiny committee role... you cant judge others differently to the way you performed collectively from Lyme Green / Co-Socious / ‘Flawed CEC Local Plan’ / Decimation of green belt / Physio-gate / Deliberate and systematic’ failures re; Pollution data / EIGHT ongoing Law enforcement investigations.. The public have spoken.
From Tax payer funded surveys, Bullying at CEC occurred on Michael Jones and Rachel Baileys watch. The work now begins to restore public confidence in its chosen representatives and improve credibility /value for money. So get on with delivering for the public who expect more from their locally elected representatives in the future than has been delivered in the past
Keith Chapman
Tuesday 14th May 2019 at 10:53 am
Watch this space for Council Tax increases. If not straightaway then next year. We look to the independents to put a brake on Labour profligacy. We all support trying to reduce the impact of climate change. Sounds like ‘motherhood and apple pie’ to me.
David Jefferay
Tuesday 14th May 2019 at 12:44 pm
Keith Chapman
Tuesday 14th May 2019 at 2:57 pm
David, I don’t support Council Tax increases brought in by Conservatives, Labour or independents. You heard me resist every precept increase and argue against every project likely to waste money on Wilmslow Town Council. Unfortunately all public representatives enjoy spending other people’s money on things they wouldn’t dream of putting their hands into their own pockets for. If Conservatives who are the most responsible in this regard put up taxes what do you think Labour will do who have no such constraints?
James MacDonald
Tuesday 14th May 2019 at 3:16 pm
Yawn, incorrectly blaming Brexit again. Out of touch with constituents.
David Jefferay
Tuesday 14th May 2019 at 3:31 pm
Keith, hopefully we'll be able to pleasantly surprise you.
Keith Chapman
Tuesday 14th May 2019 at 8:31 pm
David, I truly hope so. As I said in my previous post Wilmslow is looking to the Independents to hold Labour in check. If my Council Tax Bill is at the current level in 2023 I will be the first offer my heartfelt thanks and congratulations!
Catherine Dixon
Tuesday 14th May 2019 at 10:08 pm
Brexit did not feature in my voting decision. Years of hearing about problems with senior management and members like Michael Jones did. Also the bullying culture which I believe extends beyond internal staffing to contract management & relationships with people who access services. To our new political team, I say please focus on local issues like adult social care. Ask us what assets we have in our communities & how we can work with you to improve local services.
David Jefferay
Wednesday 15th May 2019 at 7:09 am
Catherine, if you want to contact me, Mark, Iain or Toni (email addresses are on the Cheshire East website), we can have a chat.
Jonathan Follows
Wednesday 15th May 2019 at 7:29 am
On council tax increases, the Conservatives have been undone by their central government colleagues, by requiring a maximum possible increase in council tax every recent year. I expect nothing will change with the new administration - our increases will be at the maximum, but they would have been anyway.

I have kept track of the increases over the last years. 2009-10: +0%, 2010-11: +2%, 2011-12: +1%, 2012-13: +0%, 2013-14: +0%, 2014-15: +0%, 2015-16: +0%, 2016-17: +4%, 2017-18: +5%, 2018-19: +6%, 2019-20: +5%.

The cumulative increase since 2008 just about matches CPI inflation, by the way. Cumulative council tax increase: +27%; CPI: +26% & RPI: +38% over the same period.

I don't really blame CEC for the recent increases, but they removed a campaign claim of "low cost local government" which the Conservatives used in the past.
Pippa Jones
Wednesday 15th May 2019 at 3:37 pm
Isn't it high time all our politicians worked together? In common with all local authorities, CEC has lots of problems that need solving (and yes, climate change actually is a crisis facing the planet......we oldies may feel it is of no importance to us despite the fact we have significantly contributed to it, but it certainly will affect our children and grandchildren in ways we can hardly begin to imagine), but CEC have also suffered major budget cuts that have affected services particularly for the most vulnerable in our community.
We can see the dreadful effects of "ya/boo" politics in Parliament at the moment, and it would be so refreshing to see our politicians working more for the good of the community as a whole and less for their own political allegiances. Wilmslow Town Council seems to have been a good example of councillors working together, and I am hopeful it will continue to do so. Cllr Clowes's comments sound divisive rather than helpful to a newly elected Council. More cooperative working please!
Peter Croome
Wednesday 15th May 2019 at 3:53 pm
I was brought up to believe that if you did not win then you did your best to help those who did. How sad that the new head of the Conservatives has started off with a huge whinge - buckle down and stop blaming "Brexit"; your loss is entirely your own fault, Cheshire East Council has been a complete shambles.
Chris Wigley
Wednesday 15th May 2019 at 4:29 pm
My decision in voting for two independents had nothing to do with Brexit but mainly for two reasons:
1 The experience of the previous Council behaviour over Lyme Green and Physiogate where we had insufficient checks and balance on procedures to prevent actions taking place that eventually cost around £2 million and resulted in the whole top layer of management being replaced (we have since had a number of the replacements replaced).
2 The house building policy which seems to me to build a considerable number of houses of £350,000 + which do not address the problems of first time buyers getting on the housing market but does suck into the this area of North Cheshire new residents from outside the area. It will be interesting if the Handforth Garden Village of 2000+ homes is built to track how many of these homes are addressing the housing shortage within the county or adding to making it even more difficult to those wishing to get a foot on the ladder. The cost to this area is losing the green belt with the danger that soon we will become part of the of the Greater Manchester conurbation in all but name.
We have been ill served by the previous administration who have appeared unwilling through the cabinet system of proper debate, appear secretive and whilst not in special measures with the Department of Communities and Local Government have had the status of being monitored, hardly a good sign
Pete Taylor
Friday 17th May 2019 at 8:26 pm
It's interesting to see that former Cllr Rod Menlove feels able to talk down to us about waste disposal arrangements; given that he was "supposedly" in charge of this area when the Lyme Green fiasco unfolded. From what I read this has, so far, cost US £3.8 Million and is still not really sorted out.
Rod Menlove
Saturday 18th May 2019 at 1:15 pm
A list of Conservative achievements on climate change is by no means 'talking down' to any other than the prejudiced. The champagne socialist jumps in at a tangent to attempt to divert attention from (as stated above) the feeble motherhood and apple pie statement of his fellow openly socialist councillor Sam Corcoran.
Nick Jones
Saturday 18th May 2019 at 5:14 pm
Publish the Lyme Green Report ! How much has it continued to cost taxpayers? Why were you asleep on your watch ? Why did you say you were against green belt development and then removed vast swathes of land from Green Belt protection with no explanation . Royal London ... 8 Law Enforcement investigations ... ever increasing taxes for less service efficiency.. failing to address the car parking problem.. etc etc etc... the list of conservatives achievements is staggering.. 24/5 entries in private eye.. The biggest crime .. failing to listen [to predominantly tory supporters] failing to change to improve local communities and once more being asleep on their collective watch ...from T May to J Clowes and 'has beens' nothing has changed .. It never needed to be this way. What a poison chalice to hand to Larry Estill.. !! he seems a decent bloke...but never stood a chance. So publish that report, all those involved or either gone under law enforcement investigation, paid off.. or deselected.. there is no reason why the underacted report cant be made public.
12 months for the incoming competent's seems a reasonable amount of time to unravel the mess of the outgoing incompetents.. and it never needed to be this way.
The cost of arrogance and duplicitous behaviour is ongoing apparently.
Rod Menlove
Saturday 18th May 2019 at 7:06 pm
It is so predictable that Nick Jones would be the first to post his customary incoherent ramble in support of his fellow traveller. This is the brave keyboard warrior who has refused face to face meetings and relies upon the anonimity allowed by social media.
Alan Brough
Saturday 18th May 2019 at 8:11 pm
Please, Cheshire East Conservatives, admit that it’s your abject failure in almost ALL policy areas, coupled with the huge cost of corrective actions ensuing from those failures that have turned local voters against you.

It’s absolutely nothing to do with Brexit.

Unless and until you can understand this, you will continue to be a despised opposition irrelevance for some considerable time.
Deleted Account
Sunday 19th May 2019 at 8:41 am
Hello Rod,

Please, can you remind residents (regardless of any political affiliations) why the Lyme Green report wasn't published ?
Tony Haluradivth
Sunday 19th May 2019 at 12:19 pm
Well said Julin Barlow. I switched from faithful Tory to Independent voter because of arrogance, ineptitude and bullying. I did NOT vote for climate change delusionals or Corbyn lovers like Sam Corcoran so he need not get carried away. He is supposed to hold the Torys to account and work FOR US. This is just like a Liebour fanatic to swoop in and try and gain a political advantage. Don't allow yourself to fall victim to the same hubris which senior Tory councillors suffered from. You are nothing special Sam Corcoran....
Rod Menlove
Sunday 19th May 2019 at 2:00 pm
Afternoon Martin
I cannot help you with your question as I do not know the answer.
There was a statement from the Council in January 2013 citing confidentiality but along with fellow backbench councillors, I was not made aware of the reasons.
Manuel Golding
Sunday 19th May 2019 at 6:34 pm
Who was the Conservative councillor cabinet holder who had the supposed responsibility to, oversee what became the Lyme Green fiasco?
Will that former councillor and former cabinet holder please STAND UP for all to know and see?
Pete Taylor
Sunday 26th May 2019 at 6:59 am
CEC full council unanimously supported the climate change proposals- every Councillor, from all parties. A great start to a new era in Cheshire East.
That makes the cheap jibes above, from yesterday’s man, show just how out of touch he is.