Councillor quits shadow cabinet after pay allowance vote

THE only Liberal Democrat councillor to vote in favour of a pay allowance increase for elected members of Cambridgeshire County Council has stood down from the shadow cabinet.

Councillor Geoff Heathcock, who represents Queen Edith’s in Cambridge, was a member of the panel which recommended the increases that were blocked after The Hunts Post sister title, The Cambs Times, revealed that the proper procedures for appointing the review panel had not been followed.

While Cllr Heathcock voted for the now abandoned increase, the rest of his Lib Dem group opposed the plan which would have allowed a 25 per cent increase in councillors’ allowances.

Cllr Heathcock said: “It was clear to me that all members of the Liberal Democrats were opposed to accepting the 25 per cent increase and therefore voted against. I did not share their view on this.

“It was with regret, therefore, that I decided to step down from my position on the shadow cabinet.”

Cllr Heathcock was the Liberal Democrat spokesman for health. He is also a past chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council’s health and adult social care scrutiny committee, a position he held twice. He will continue as group member on the Cambridgeshire Fire Authority.

His shadow health role has been handed to Cllr Caroline Shepherd who represents Trumpington.

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Cllr Shepherd said: “I am looking forward to the immense challenges that the health portfolio will bring at a time of huge change in the way services are delivered both locally and nationally.

“Geoff has proved an expert in this field with unrivalled knowledge. I hope to be able to build on his excellent work and ensure that the Liberal Democrats remain an effective opposition in this area.”