Rebellion in the Tory ranks – keeping order on Peterborough City Council

He never actually resigned. Let’s make that absolutely clear.

inspection17:11 Friday 15th May 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PETER SWAN: Let’s focus on this evolving situation as regards Peterborough City Council. Now they say a week’s a long time in politics, and just seven days ago the Tories in Peterborough were opening the champagne after narrowly regaining control of the City Council. The Prime Minister even paid a visit to mark the occasion. But today it’s been a nail-biting few hours, as one of their number has been talking of resigning from the party to become an Independent. Sara who’s reading the news for you this afternoon and also producing is here to explain a little bit more about what’s been going on. Sara.
SARA VAREY: Well Peter as you say it all looked to be going so well. Here’s David Cameron in Peterborough just last week.
DAVID CAMERON: The people in Peterborough who worked so hard , who’ve done so well representing the people of this great city, that are seeing jobs being created, seeing businesses come to Peterborough, seeing great regeneration happening in Peterborough, homes being built in Peterborough, you won because you worked hard and you deserve to win. So have a celebration today, have a celebration over the weekend, and the work starts on Monday. I’ve got a small majority. John’s got a small majority. But I’m sure with the commitment and with the dedication you’ve all shown, you’re going to do great things for this great city. Thank you very much indeed.
SARA VAREY: Well the empties have barely been taken to the bottle bank and there’s trouble brewing. Tory councillor Gul Nawaz announced this morning he was thinking fo leaving the Tories.
PETER SWAN: OK. So just a few days. What’s he been thinking about?
SARA VAREY: Well summit meetings have been in progress all day. Peterborough’s MP Stewart Jackson said that he’d been in talks with Gul along with the Council Leader John Holdich.
PETER SWAN: So how then would this defection upset the balance? Clearly it’s very important.
SARA VAREY: It could be. The Tories has a majority of just one seat. They had 31 in a chamber of 60. That changed from 57, because this year they introduced new boundaries, and 3 extra councillors were elected, which makes a total of 60. Right? Are you following this?
SARA VAREY: So if it was tied, it would be 30 all. 30 all. OK?
SARA VAREY: With Labour .. because the Labour councillors hold 14 seats, so there’s no other big majority or bigger majority.
PETER SWAN: OK. So what is the mechanism therefore if it does end up tied?
SARA VAREY: The Mayor has the casting vote. And the way the Mayor is chosen has also changed.
PETER SWAN: OK. Right. So tell us more about that.
SARA VAREY: Under the new system, the longest-serving councillor gets the job, and the man who holds that title is David Sanders, who’s a Tory, which means there could still be a happy if somewhat precarious outcome.
PETER SWAN: Ok so that’s the mechanism of it all. Are we at an end now?
SARA VAREY: Well almost. Half an hour ago we heard that Gul had now decided to stay. He didn’t want to come on, but John Holdich has agreed to come on and he can fill us in.
PETER SWAN: Well I’ll tell you what we’ll do. We’ll head over and get the latest from the roads, and then we’ll speak to John and see if we can unpick all of this. Because certainly a lot to take on board.


PETER SWAN: It’s been a very busy day in terms of Peterborough politics. The balance of power potentially looking like it may change, but now it looks as though it’s all going to stay the same. Let’s get a word then with the current Tory Leader of Peterborough City Council, John Holdich, who joins us now. Evening to you John.
JOHN HOLDICH: Good evening.
PETER SWAN: So you’ve had a busy few hours.
Continue reading “Rebellion in the Tory ranks – keeping order on Peterborough City Council”

David Sanders – costly errors and accountability at Peterborough City Council

09:23 Wednesday 25th October 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: Today marks the end. It’s a momentous day, the end of Peterborough City Council’s solar dreams. Let’s call it that. The plan to use Grade I farming land to build a big green energy park, or a series of them. At today’s Cabinet meeting, which is underway right now, the Council will confirm they’re dropping plans for the third and final site on America Farm, the last strand of this three-pronged dream. It means all three plans are now dead in the water. But the whole venture has cost the taxpayer, you and me and everybody else, over £3 million. And not a penny’s coming back from it. The original proposal from the Council claimed the project could make millions of pounds, but the project was constantly hindered by objections from locals, reductions in the tariff from the Government, and the fact the land is right next to Flag Fen, so it needed to be excavated. Councillor David Sanders is the councillor for Thorney and Eye, and he’s with us this morning. David, morning. David morning.
DAVID SANDERS: Good morning. Can you hear me OK?
PAUL STAINTON: Yes I’ve got you now. I’ve got you now.
PAUL STAINTON: Now this was at one time billed as the Leader Marco Cereste’s vanity project by Stewart Jackson MP and others. There were accusations farmers weren’t listened to. I was still doing Breakfast at the time when it was first mooted. I had a lady in here crying, who’d lived on a farm for many many years, saying they’d not been consulted. Was this just a bad idea from the start? Was it a good idea that was badly managed? Or was it just a punt?
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The Man who Fed on Weakness

margot08:23 Monday 16th June 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[P]AUL STAINTON: It’s a big night for Peterborough tonight. The City Council will appoint a Leader of the Council at its AGM tonight. The Leadership has been up in the air since those local elections in May, where the ruling Conservative group forfeited overall control after losing seats to UKIP. Speaking after the results, Conservative councillor for Eye and Thorney David Sanders called on the Tory Leader Marco Cereste to resign.
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.
PAUL STAINTON: Councillor Cereste reacted angrily to suggestions he should step aside. He told this show that he’d carry on as Leader, and the city would crumble to the ground if the Tories weren’t in charge. Here he is speaking to Chris Mann last week.
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No Confidence in Marco Cereste

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.
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Marco Cereste on Minority Government

08:25 Wednesday 28th May 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Audio Extract from @BBCCambs

[C]HRIS MANN: So we are discussing the future of Peterborough City Council this morning. It’s after Marco Cereste was re-elected as the Leader of the Tory Group on Peterborough City Council. We understand he told his Conservative colleagues that he would be able to form a majority with the help of three Independent councillors, but it’s not stopped other councillors from voicing their concerns. David Sanders is the Conservative councillor for Eye and Thorney, and believes it’s time for a change in leadership.
DAVID SANDERS: Unfortunately 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.
CHRIS MANN: And he isn’t alone. David Harrington leads the Peterborough Independent Forum. He’s also called on Marco to consider his position. The LibDem are thought to prefer changing to a committee system. So what does the future hold for Peterborough City Council and indeed Marco Cereste? Well the man himself joins us now. Marco, good morning.
MARCO CERESTE: Good morning. How are you?
CHRIS MANN: I’m very well thank you. Congratulations on being re-elected first of all by the Tory Group.
CHRIS MANN: How did you convince them you should continue?
Continue reading “Marco Cereste on Minority Government”

Energy Plans Could Bankrupt Peterborough

08:07 Tuesday 26th February 2013
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[P]AUL STAINTON: Delays in getting approval to build a renewable energy plant in Peterborough could undermine the whole of the City Couthe_gamblerncil’s budget for next year. Plans to build one of the biggest solar and wind energy parks in Europe have been delayed because of an anomaly found during a land survey at Newborough Farm, just north of the city. The Council hope the project will make over £100 million over the next 25 years, but the findings on Newborough Farm, and a further delay on the survey on America Farm, have delayed the whole project, which could derail the Council’s budget. Mike Goodliffe is one of the tenant farmers who could lose land if the plans are approved. He said it’s common knowledge the land has artefacts buried under it. Continue reading “Energy Plans Could Bankrupt Peterborough”

Peterborough News 16th December 2010

A summary of the Peterborough Breakfast Show from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire broadcast from 06:00 to 09:00 on Thursday 16th December 2010.

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson says that yesterday’s woeful SATs results for Peterborough, with so many schools failing to meet the required standard, probably indicate a systemic failure within the Education Department at Peterborough City Council. Leader Marco Cereste blames the influx of immigrants, and says that new initiatives are in hand to rectify the problem.

Councillors from two of the Neighbourhood Council areas say that the Council Leader’s initiative is failing and that residents have minimal interest and no faith in Council’s willingness to devolve powers. Leader Marco Cereste rejects the argument, reports that in his area as many as 15 or even 20 people turn up to meetings, and says that one or both of the councillors raising the issue may have a personal axe to grind.

Yaxley Parish Council is fighting to save the Community Shop and prevent the reorganisation of the library. They suggest that the desired savings could be made by amalgamating the service.
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Peterborough News 29th November 2010

A summary of the Peterborough Breakfast Show from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire broadcast from 06:00 to 09:00 on Monday 29th November 2010.

Local MP Stewart Jackson has lent his weight to the Eye villagers’ campaign to prevent further low-cost housebuilding in the village. Council wanted another 300 units to add to the 380 already built. Locals say schools, roads and the GP surgery are all full, and that other villages would benefit more from extra houses to help them become sustainable.
Building work has started a week early on the refurbishment of Ormiston Bushfield School.
Local travel has been disrupted by snow, but the Federation of Small Business urges workers to struggle in at all costs.
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