Mark Whitehead 17 September 2018

Council hits back at 'insulting' one party state claims

Council hits back at 'insulting' one party state claims

Manchester City Council has hit back at a claim by the Liberal Democrats that it is a 'one party state' like North Korea.

Council leader Richard Leese slammed the statement made by the party at their annual conference in Brighton as 'insulting to the electorate'.

He also rejected a claim that he had tried to stop the opposition asking questions and said the attack was prompted because the Lib Dems 'can't stand that our electorate consistently prefer Labour candidates'.

Manchester City Council currently has 94 Labour members and two Lib Dems.

The conference launched the attack on 'supermajority problem councils like Manchester', in a successful 'power for people and communities' motion.

It called for councils to be elected by a single transferrable vote system and said all council meetings should be streamed live on the internet.

But Cllr Leese told LocalGov: 'To describe Manchester as a one-party state is insulting to the electorate.

'This is not North Korea. As in the rest of the UK we have free and fair elections with a wide choice of candidates.

'What the Liberal Democrats can't stand is that our electorate consistently prefer Labour candidates with Labour winning over 50% of the vote in 29 out of 32 seats in this May's elections.

'As council leader I have no power to ban any member from asking questions, and all our decision making meetings have been live-streamed, a Labour decision, for several years now.'

Read more about the Lib Dem motion here.

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