Responding to recent events at the City Council, Lucille Thompson, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said:
The voters sent a very clear message in May that things couldn’t go on as they are – with the Lib Dems winning a clear majority – 9 out of 15 – of seats in the district – and Conservative candidates losing every single seat in the city itself.
When it became clear that Councillor Gottlieb agreed with us on the failings of the City Council and was prepared to leave his group and become an independent, the Liberal Democrat group all agreed – including Councillor Scott – that we should be prepared to act as voters across the district wanted us to in May when they elected us to a majority of wards across the district and seek to take control of the council.
We had a worked-out plan to tackle the excessive secrecy and repeated failure to listen of the current administration – and to get serious action on the challenges facing the council – such as the new leisure centre, central Winchester regeneration, and the council’s woeful record on recycling, transport and maintaining our city’s heritage. Importantly, also, we were also prepared to tackle the Conservatives’ disastrous financial mismanagement of the council which their own best estimate says will take the council to a deficit of more than £4 million a year by 2021/22.
During the evening all Liberal Democrat councillors, including Jamie Scott, voted to force the Conservatives to listen to local people on the leisure centre – and successfully made the case that the council should take a stronger line on recycling – and we were right to do so.
Sadly, when it came to the end of the evening, Cllr Scott refused to vote for the motion of no confidence which he had enthusiastically backed only a few hours earlier. We have no idea what the Conservatives have offered to make him change his party again – but no doubt we will see in time. We hope they enjoy their time together as much as they did before.