May 18th, 2023.

Lewes Lib Debs release:

Liberal Democrats on Lewes District Council have proposed a continuation of existing power sharing arrangements with the Green Party. Liberal Democrats have rotated the leadership of the council with the Green Party for the last four years.

Liberal Democrat group leader, Cllr James MacCleary, (pictured), explained: "We were delighted with the election results here in Lewes District where we nearly doubled our representation on the council. We also finished first across Lewes constituency well ahead of the Conservatives which is a very good sign ahead of next year's expected General Election.

"We have been negotiating an agreement to run the council since the election, and it was hugely disappointing that Labour's central committee vetoed the previous agreement we had. We have put forward a new proposal to the Green Party for power sharing over the next four years.

"We are hopeful that the Green Party will continue with the arrangement that we have successfully run for the last four years on Lewes District Council. We believe that the election results showed that residents appreciated our collaborative approach and the shared leadership model that saw Liberal Democrat and Green Party council leaders in alternate years. It is important to show that we will not just slip into narrow tribalism now that there are no Conservatives left on the council.

"We will continue to negotiate in good faith with our Green Party colleagues and would like to congratulate our neighbours in Wealden District who have formed a Liberal Democrat/Green Party alliance using the same rotating leadership model that has proved so successful here over the last four years. Whether the Green Party are prepared to share power on Lewes District Council or not, we will continue to stand up for our residents across our district."

Following the above Liberal Democrats’ statement to local media that they wish to ‘reopen negotiations’ on power sharing, The Green Party issued a statement in response:

“As the largest party in both vote share and number of councillors, The Greens have been invited to form an administration. We have been working hard, in the spirit of putting residents first, to come up with the fairest and most stable leadership for the District Council.”

“We had an agreement with all parties at the weekend that gave very generous and fair arrangements including deputy leadership for the full 4 years, and additional presence on cabinet for the Liberal Democrats beyond what their vote share would dictate. We had all agreed to these arrangements and then we heard the news that our Labour colleagues were not permitted to join in.”

“We have gone back to the Liberal Democrats with exactly the same agreement we reached only on Sunday. It is disappointing that they have now changed their mind.”

“We hope they will work with us in a collaborative, grown up way of doing politics, and having joined us in the landmark moment of wiping out entirely the Conservatives, that they will embrace the chance to make history twice in one month.”
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