17:19 Wednesday 28th May 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
[S]UE DOUGAN: The political future of Peterborough City Council hangs in the balance after the Conservative group lost its overall majority last week. Last night Marco Cereste was re-elected as Leader of the Tory Group. He claims to have the support of three Independent councillors, and vowed to continue as Leader. But others on the Council say it’s time for him to reconsider his position. Conservative councillor for Eye and Thorney David Sanders told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire that the public had made their feelings clear.
DAVID SANDERS: It leaves the Conservatives very vulnerable indeed. I believe that at this stage Marco should consider his position and do the honourable thing and resign, and allow a new leader with new vision, new ideas, new focus and vision, and take the Council and Conservatives forward. Without a doubt Marco has had some good ideas, and some things that he’s done have been good. But generally Marco may think that, but the electorate have suggested and spoken out otherwise.
SUE DOUGAN: David Harrington, Independent councillor for Newborough and Independent group Leader said they may consider a deal with the Conservative group, led by someone else, but not with councillor Cereste at the helm.
DAVID HARRINGTON: The majority of the Opposition councillors, he’s run his course and he’s made some bad judgments in our opinion. And therefore he should consider his position and go. With the Leadership and the present administration, I’m afraid I wouldn’t and I’ve got the backing of my colleagues, that we would do no deal with the present administration.
SUE DOUGAN: Well Marco Cereste himself told our Breakfast Show this morning that he had been elected unopposed, and therefore his position is tenable. And the results of last week’s election was not a vote of no confidence in him. He said he intended to try to lead an administration on Peterborough City Council.
MARCO CERESTE: It would be very simple for me to just walk away from this. .. You need to understand that as Leader of the Council it’s a huge responsibility for no reward and constant aggravation. And we only do it .. we only do it because we want to serve the people of this city. And I only do it because I actually feel passionate about Peterborough. If I walk away and the Tory Group walks away from the administration of Peterborough today, this city will collapse tomorrow.
SUE DOUGAN: Marco Cereste. Well we understand that a Motion of No Confidence in Marco Cereste will be put forward at next month’s AGM. And as we understand it the future of the Council could go one of three ways. Just to summarise: either the Tories could win the support of rival councillors and secure a majority administration, or the Opposition parties, in this case Labour, Liberal Democrats, the Independents, Liberals and UKIP band together and form a block. And the third option would see the Tories run the Town Hall as a minority-run council. This should become clear on June 16th. This is when the Council holds its AGM. What we expect to happen is Marco must prove he has the support of the majority of the House. And if he can do this he will remain Leader. If he can’t prove he has the support, then the Opposition councillors will table a motion to introduce a committee system. That will then be voted on. If it’s accepted, then we are in Cambridge County Council territory. And if it’s rejected, then the Tories will continue but without overall control.