Independent could be appointed leader as part of unfurling maelstrom at Cambridgeshire County Council

So what sort of reception can councillors expect at Shire Hall, Cambridge, next week?

So what sort of reception can councillors expect at Shire Hall, Cambridge, next week? - Credit: Archant

AN independent councillor could take the helm at Cambridgeshire County Council as part of the unfurling political maelstrom in the wake of this month’s local elections.

Motions from both UKIP and the Lib Dems were published tonight revealing their determination to bring Cabinet government in Cambridgeshire to an end.

It could also signal the move to bring in Councillor John Hipkin, a successful independent candidate from Cambridge, as leader.

UKIP leader Councillor Peter Reeve believes the appointment of someone such as Cllr Hipkin will burst the Conservative bubble.

He is adamant that the Conservatives –the largest party but with no overall majority- do not appoint the leader.


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“They think they rule the world, they think they are untouchable,” said Cllr Reeve.

“If we manage to restore the committee system it will change the way things work in that you’ll take the egos out of it.”

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Cllr Reeve believes someone such as Cllr Hipkin, a former Cambridge mayor, will appeal to politicians across the board and he has the experience to do the job.

Lib Dem leader Kilian Bourke has tabled a motion insisting that it is in the public interest “for the different political viewpoints to have an influence on the decision-making process.”

He wants the council’s rules changed to allow for a committee system immediately and decision making “devolved to the lowest practical level”.

Cllr Reeve has a similar motion but with more flexibility on timing. His plan is for an all party Cabinet for a year before committees come in next June.

Councillor Martin Curtis was elected Conservative group leader on Friday and plans to form a minority administration to run the council.

He believes the electorate wants the issue resolved quickly and “provide some clarity to people about what the future of the council is going to look like”

He told the BBC “It’s also important we understand that more than half of our councillors are new and have no experience within Cambridgeshire County Council.”

Whether he believes the opposition can deprive him of council leadership he was not saying.

On Twitter he remarked: “I love a good conspiracy theory.”

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