In the spirit of co-operation?

Attending the first meeting of the Town Council after an election feels a bit like the first day of term, but without your shiny new pencil case or crisp new school uniform.

When Town Council convened on Tuesday, there were new faces around the table with three of those new faces our newly elected Liberal Democrat friends Annette James, Penny Hubble and Dave Roberts.

The first Council meeting back had always been a bit of a non-event, not controversial as it was about electing the mayor, deputy, councillors for the various committees and volunteers to go along as council reps to local groups.

We already knew the Tories wanted Cllr Kevin Hurn as mayor. Cllr Hurn is an experienced and trusted member of the council. On his election I thought here is someone we can do business with. He once said to me that while we may approach from different political angles, we both wanted the best for Wymondham. And I believed him.

What was less than thrilling was the prospect of another Tory councillor being elected as deputy. Someone who had retained his place on the council by the slimmest of margins, just three votes.

When it came to nominations, newly elected Cllr Pete Travis nominated me for deputy and his kind words will stay with me. This wasn’t an ego thing for me but as the council is now comprised of eight Tories and six non-Tory councillors, we naively thought the deputy should represent a balance and feature a non-Tory.

With one elected Tory councillor yet to take her seat at the table (currently on holiday) the vote for deputy was split because another newly elected Tory councillor clearly didn’t get the memo that she had to always vote the way her colleagues did. She abstained. So it was left to the new mayor to use his casting vote.

We now have a council with both mayor and deputy as Tory councillors.

In his speech, the new mayor expressed his wish that we all work together as a team, for Wymondham. But his first action hardly felt like co-operation to me.

We often say local politics should not be party political, vote for us as individuals and not the colours that we wear. But sadly Tory councillors in Wymondham are unwilling to break the mould.

With the council split the way it is, they will need to ensure all their colleagues are present at every meeting for votes to go their way. If not, they might actually fail to get their own way.

And we wouldn’t want that, would we?

To be continued

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