Calls have been for a ‘rainbow coalition’ of political parties to run Flintshire Council in the wake of a turbulent few weeks for the Labour administration.
Two members of the Independent Group on the authority have put the suggestion forward as a way of healing the rift caused by the fall out between former leader Aaron Shotton and his sacked deputy Bernie Attridge.
Ian Roberts, cabinet member for education, was appointed to the main role earlier this week after gaining the approval of the majority of councillors.
The Labour man will initially take up the position for the next month before the future composition of the council is decided at its AGM.
During his acceptance speech on Tuesday, Cllr Roberts stressed the need for politicians across the chamber to unite in the interests of people living in the county.
Cllrs Helen Brown and Carol Ellis, who chair the audit and social and health care committees respectively, have now asked to meet with him to discuss proposals for all groups to join together.
In a joint statement, they said: “A new leader with a new perspective is most welcome and to try to restore trust within the council is going to be a very difficult task.
“The public, the very people we are elected by, also need to have their faith and trust restored into such a fragmented council.
“We feel a way forward to break this train of untrust would be for the leader and the Labour group itself to seriously consider a new administration of all parties and groups joining up together for the good of our county and forming a rainbow coalition.
“In the very uncertain times we face ahead, it’s important to put people before politics.”
Bernie Attridge was recently sacked from the authority’s cabinet by former ally Aaron Shotton after he was accused of a breach of confidentiality.
It sparked a chain of events which led to the Labour leader himself stepping down from his post.
There has been further unrest this week regarding an anonymous letter containing allegations against senior council officers.
It led chief executive Colin Everett to write a stern message, accusing the author of ‘cowardice’ and criticising ‘false and defamatory’ information within the document.
Cllr Roberts said he would be willing to meet with the independent councillors to discuss their idea.
He said: “Over the next four weeks before the council’s AGM, I will be happy to meet with groups from across the council to discuss how we can improve trust and remembering that our job here is to serve the people of Flintshire, not ourselves.”
Cllr Roberts has also announced that the authority will continue to function with six portfolio holders instead of eight in the run-up to the AGM.
The Flint representative will temporarily take up the finance post vacated by Cllr Shotton in addition to his own.
Meanwhile, Derek Butler will take on Cllr Attridge’s housing role as well as remaining as cabinet member for economic development
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).