Progress, say Lib Dems, but Labour are scathing

Liberal Democrat spokesman Dr Mick Taylor
Liberal Democrat spokesman Dr Mick Taylor

Reaction to the news of Labour’s ousting as the ruling minority group at Calderdale Council has been voiced this week.

Local Liberal Democrats believe their support for the Conservative group’s move will secure some benefits for upper Calder Valley people, but Labour Party members have dismissed it as sheer opportunism.

Dr Mick Taylor of Todmorden Liberal Democrats, issuing a statement on behalf of the party, said: “The Liberal Democrat group will not be entering into a Coalition with the Conservatives.

“We are our own party with our own agenda. We will support a Conservative and Independent coalition on a supply and demand basis.

“In return for our support of their administration as a group we have won a guarantee of the following.

“That the new administration implements the budget decisions from this year’s Annual Council Budget, including the scrapping of evening parking charges in Halifax, and at car parks such as King Cross, Greetland and Stainland, Mytholmroyd and Todmorden; there is a review of Neighbourhoods to include the possibility of setting up community hubs across Calderdale; a commitment that the council will keep the Pellon Network Centre open and running ; and ensuring that the council uses its powers under section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act to get owners/developers to tidy up derelict sites, for example the Hope Street/Halifax Road site in Todmorden.”

But Todmorden ward Councillors Jayne Booth, Steve Sweeney - who lost his Cabinet seat - and Susan Press said in a joint statement: “Coun Battye and her Lib Dem colleagues obviously decided personal gain and political influence were more important than respecting the wishes of the electorate for a Labour council in Calderdale, particularly here in Todmorden where we have three Labour councillors.

“So-called concern over parking charges and other issues is merely a smokescreen designed to grab headlines whilst the real agenda is the continued dismantling of local government services and our NHS.

“The Lib Dems’ hunger for power blinds them from the stark realities of Tory rhetoric and places people in Calderdale at significant risk of losing key services like our A and E.”