Row as a new independent group quits Labor without a majority on Cannock Chase District Council

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Head of Council George Adamson

Members of the Independents and Chase Greens no longer sit in the Cannock Chase District Council cabinet, leaving Labor in a potentially precarious position.

Labor is the largest party in the council, but it is outnumbered by advisers from all opposition parties.

Paul Dadge, the chairman of the newly formed Chase Independents, said the group had been “removed” from cabinet.

Labor council chief George Adamson, however, said adviser Paul Woodhead of the Chase Independents threatened to step down last weekend.

Green Party Councilor Andrea Muckley was also given the option to stay but chose not to, Councilor Adamson said.

The chief called the actions of the Chase Independents “appalling” as the authority tried to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

He said that while no formal coalition or confidence and supply deal had been agreed, he was confident that both Tories and Liberal Democrats would back the council in times of crisis following conversations with them.

He said he did not believe the opposition parties would band together to try to overthrow the Labor administration.

Former Labor adviser Andrea Layton joined former Green Party councilors Paul Woodhead, Claire Wilkinson, Stuart Crabtree and Mandy Dunnett to form the Chase Independents.

He left the Labor Party with 17 seats and the Tories with 14 at the council house.

Councilor Adamson said: “The timing was absolutely appalling in the midst of a pandemic. The Cannock Chase district is facing a massive economic crisis. We should be the fourth worst affected in all of the West Midlands.

“The Chase Independents have chosen to play political games in times of crisis and I think it is appalling. We should come together to get through the crisis.”

He added: “I have no doubts that the rest of the board will adopt a more mature stance than that of the Chase Independents.

“There is no formal coalition and no formal guarantees but we want to work together.”

Mr Dadge said Labor was “clearly afraid of the change and the new ways of working represented by our group”.

He added, “We will continue our positive approach to community engagement and continue to fight to bring the community closer to the functioning of the board. The Chase Independents and Green group is clear that board priorities need to be informed by the community, the other way around. “


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