They won’t challenge one another
Voters in the forthcoming Exeter City Council elections won’t be able to choose between Liberal Democrats or Green Party candidates in six areas after the two groups agreed not to stand against one another.
Paul Nero www.radioexe.co.uk
Elections for many seats on the city council are to be contested on Thursday 6 May. Right now, Exeter has two Lib Dems and one Green member, who together with a single independent councillor form a Gang of Four they call the Progressive Group.
Now the two parties have decided the best way to try to get more councillors elected is not to offer a choice to many of the electorate. It’s a tactic they hope will help them overtake the Conservatives to become the key opposition party on the council.
The Green Party will field candidates uncontested by a Liberal Democrat candidate in St David’s, Heavitree and Newtown and St Leonards wards. The Liberal Democrats will field candidates uncontested by the Green Party in Duryard and St James, Pennsylvania and St Thomas wards.
Councillor Diana Moore, for the Greens said: “The Progressive Group has proven that councillors from different parties and independents can work cooperatively together. We have worked hard to scrutinise the ruling Labour group and hold them to account.
“It is in the interests of the city, Exeter residents and the environment that we increase the number of Progressive Group councillors on Exeter City Council to provide a strong voice for local residents.”
The Lib Dems claim the Conservatives on the council don’t offer opposition to the Labour administration or challenge its policies. Liberal Democrat Councillor Kevin Mitchell, who leads the Progressive Group on the council said: “The people of Exeter don’t want a one-party state they want a council that represents a variety of opinions and one that consults and listens to the variety of communities that make up contemporary Exeter.”
It could be argued the decision not to put up Green Party and Lib Democrat candidates is likely to reduce the variety of opinions that voters can select, but Exeter Liberal Democrats chairperson Cllr Michael Mitchell says their agreement offers voters the opportunity to ensure an effective opposition on the council.
They’re concerned that the Labour-controlled council has created too many non-accountable bodies.
The pact doesn’t affect Devon County Council elections, which are on the same day. Both parties will field candidates in all areas in those elections on 6 May, so all voters will have the opportunity to vote for one of them.