Ellie Ames 27 October 2023

Confidence vote risks ‘further government intervention’

Confidence vote risks ‘further government intervention’ image
Image: peterborough.gov.uk

The leader of Peterborough City Council has said a confidence motion in him will result in ‘major political instability’ and risks further intervention from the Government.

An independent improvement panel was established at Peterborough in 2021 following critical reviews of the council’s finances and governance from the levelling up department and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.

The Conservatives run the unitary authority as a minority administration, but since the May elections a number of councillors have left the party to join the Peterborough First Group.

The no confidence motion in Conservative leader Wayne Fitzgerald was tabled by Peterborough First leader Chris Harper. It has been signed by the leaders of the Labour, Liberal Democrats and Green groups.

It states: ‘The political attacks and weaponization of the council administration against opposition members has led to the relationship between the leader (including his cabinet) and the opposition groups (including former group members) deteriorating to such an extent that the delivery of our council services and having majority consent on major policy including the budget are at risk.’

Cllr Fitzgerald told the BBC that he expected to lose the vote but has told LocalGov: ‘This is the last thing that Peterborough City Council needs right now.

‘Under my leadership we have brought the council back from the brink of intervention and bankruptcy two years ago to one of improving financial sustainability.’

He said the no confidence vote raised ‘the risk of further government intervention being needed’.

He added: ‘The independent improvement panel were due to finish their work at the end of this year and it now looks like they’ll be around for another year as result of this move to oust the Conservative administration as it will cause major political instability.’

The confidence motion will be considered at a full council meeting on 1 November.

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