WORCESTER’s Labour chiefs have been accused of seeking a ‘Donald Trump’ moment after their bid to overturn a controversial leadership amendment which saw the Tories seize power earlier this year was rejected.
Council leader Coun Marc Bayliss made the suggestion in response to Labour leader Coun Adrian Gregson’s calls for a u-turn on the decision which now sees the leader of the council appointed from the largest political party at the Guildhall
Coun Gregson lost the leadership during a heated meeting in March due to the Conservative backed amendment and told last Tuesday’s meeting the move had denied the council the right to elect it’s own leader at the annual meeting each May.
“The Conservatives steam rollered the vote through all the traditions to take away from the council the tradition of electing its own leader,” Coun Gregson said.
“We give council the right to elect its own leader. We will not be bound by political diktat or backroom deals to seize power at all costs.
Despite opposition from the Tory benches, Coun Gregson said the proposals would remove the amendment in time for the city council’s annual meeting after May’s elections.
His calls were backed by Green Party chief Coun Louis Stephen who said: “I think the leader should have the support of everyone on the council but if that is not possible he/she should have the support of the majority of councillors.”
But in response, Coun Bayliss said: “Full council still has the power to elect the leader and indeed I was elected as leader in May by a majority.
“The Labour Party lost last year’s election. In March Coun Gregson told this council to oppose our proposals as there was an election in six weeks time and the people would decided.
“And people did decide. His party lost.
Coun Bayliss claimed the last four years had seen 44,000 votes cast for the Conservatives across the city compared to 34,000 for Labour.
“This is the loser seeking to become the winner, a Donald Trump moment where you lose the popular vote but seize power. Win the next election then you will have the right to govern,” he added.
In closing, Coun Gregson slammed Coun Bayliss for his ‘inaccuracies’ in his arguement.
His proposals were rejected by 18 votes to 17 after Green councillor Louise Griffiths voted with the 17 Conservative councillors.
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