A new cross-party Alliance has announced they are set to take the leadership of Lewes District Council.
The move follows a month of discussion and negotiation since local elections. A small number of Cooperative Councils exist elsewhere in the UK, however the move is unprecedented in Lewes District.
The Alliance has a majority of councillors on the council and the new administration will come into effect at the next meeting of the council on 15th July. The Alliance will be led in the first year by Councillor Zoe Nicholson who leads the Green Party group. Liberal Democrat group leader, Councillor James MacCleary, will be Deputy Leader. The new Cabinet will also include Labour and Independent councillors.
The Alliance is underpinned by detailed agreements on how the Alliance will work in practice. This includes a rotating leadership where the Liberal Democrats will lead the council in the second year of the administration.
Green Party Leader, Councillor Zoe Nicholson, who has been nominated as Leader of the council, said:
“British politics is changing. We are seeing a realignment beyond the traditional two-party system. I hope that this sort of co-operative arrangement will become more typical as it represents a true diversity of viewpoints and opinions. It also represents the will of voters in Lewes District as the participating councillors represent a majority on the council.
“I am excited about what we can achieve on behalf of local residents and can’t wait to get started.”
Liberal Democrat Leader, Councillor James MacCleary, said:
“We have been determined not to rush into this. It needs to be an enduring partnership that can achieve real change for local people and that means getting proper agreements in place. I am confident that we have got an agreement that will last and gives us a stable basis to work from.
“We put forward a forward-thinking manifesto for the District in the local elections and are looking forward to working with our partners to deliver that agenda.”
Labour Leader, Councillor Chris Collier, said:
“I’m delighted that we’ve got an agreement. This is an exciting change for Lewes District that we know will better serve all our communities. As well as securing a strong agreement, we’ve agreed a shared policy platform that all partners are signed up to. We are convinced this is the best way to achieve positive change for everyone.”
Independent Co-Leader, Councillor Ruth O’Keeffe, said:
“I have always felt that Councillors’ first priority should be working together for the people who elected them, and I am very hopeful that this Alliance will do a lot of good for the residents of Lewes District. There are many areas where we could do better as a Council and this is a chance to achieve this.”
Independent Co-Leader, Councillor Steve Saunders, said:
“I am looking forward to being part of this new group of like-minded Councillors, that represent the vast majority of Lewes District residents and giving them a real voice in the running of our Council”.