Council opposition party disbands

One of the opposition parties on Wigan Council has disbanded.

Formed by an amalgamation between the Community Action Party (CAP) and the Lib Dems, the nine-strong body of Democratic Alliance councillors has split. All councillors will return to their original groupings.

They are no longer the official opposition, having lost the mantle to the Tories.

The now re-formed Liberal Democrat group said the decision had been driven by the fact the Democratic Alliance Group was not the opposition.

And the group's councillors felt there was "no longer any advantage" in continuing with a formal alliance.

New leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Coun Jean Beswick (Aspull New Springs Whelley) said: "Although some reservations have been expressed, the reforming of separate groups has been done amicably and I look forward to working closely with our colleagues in the Community Action Party, both personally and as a group."

It leaves the way clear for some intriguing political bargaining for a potential powerful new alliance with the 10-councillor strong Independent Group.

Former Democratic Alliance leader Coun Paul Tushingham (CAP) said that he wanted to thank the Lib Dems for their time within the Democratic Alliance and was sorry that they have chosen "this time" to leave.

He said: "Through the Democratic Alliance partnership, and the good offices of CAP Coun Barry Fagan, we achieved a significant goal through the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority in ensuring the views of residents were heard.

"Without the Democratic Alliance, and the coming together of our two parties, this may not have happened.

"The Community Action Party is happy to work with all councillors who have no fear of political whip and are prepared to put people first.

"As the Lib Dem councillors are part of a national party, they must follow national policy, unlike Community Action councillors who have no political masters to answer to."

But Labour leader of the council Lord Smith said: "Now the maths on the council no longer stacks up, they are going for a quickie divorce and no-one will regret it."

Leader of the opposition, Conservative Coun Mike Winstanley said: "It was always doomed. It was cobbled together to stop the Conservatives getting places on outside bodies and it will be interesting to see what develops. This made a mockery of procedures. I hope for an honest era."


Back to the top of the page