19 May 2021
Following the election of an additional Green councillor to Exeter City Council in the local elections, the Progressive Group has agreed to continue to work together on areas of common ground and to provide scrutiny of the Labour-led Council. The Group is now made up of an Independent - Jemima Moore, two Green councillors - Diana Moore and Amy Sparling - and two Liberal Democrats - Kevin Mitchell and Michael Mitchell.
The Progressive Group has received the green light from Democratic Services for a move to a model of ‘co-leaders’. Liberal Democrat Councillor, Kevin Mitchell, will now share the leadership of the Progressive Group with Green councillor, Diana Moore.
Cllr Kevin Mitchell said:
“As a demonstration of our commitment to equalities and cooperative working, the Progressive Group has decided to move to a model of co-leaders. This provides the opportunity for both myself and Cllr Moore to attend Executive meetings and speak without giving notice. This is an encouraging sign of a move towards a more democratic council.”
The Progressive Group are keen to see a “healthy democracy” on the Council and have called on Labour to allow Scrutiny Committees to be chaired by councillors from other parties. The Labour Party have refused to back this proposal and the Conservative group have declined their support.
Diana Moore, Green councillor in St David’s ward, said:
“Labour hold all the Executive positions and chair all the committees. While they clearly have the largest number of councillors, it is important not to allow Exeter to operate as a One-Party Council. One way to enable a healthy democracy is for other Parties to chair a Scrutiny committee. It is a shame that Labour have refused, and the Conservatives declined to support the idea.”
Newly elected Green councillor, Amy Sparling, added:
“Labour holds most of the seats on the City Council, but this is not an accurate representation of the vote share. The majority of people in Exeter – 57% - voted against Labour. Yet the Party took 11 of the 14 seats available. The only change on the electoral map was a single gain by the Greens in St David’s ward where we now hold 2 of the 3 seats. This despite achieving 21.5% of the vote in seats where we stood.”
Liberal Democrat councillor, Michael Mitchell, concluded:
“It is clear the electoral system doesn’t deliver seats to reflect the wishes of the people of Exeter. The Progressive Group is determined to continue to speak up on behalf of those who feel their views are not represented and to hold this Labour administration to account for its actions.”
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