“Democracy has triumphed over delay” is the response of Cornish MPs to reports that Local Government Minister John Healey is set to confirm the election date for the new Cornwall Council as 4th June 2009 (rather than delay to October).
The Cornish MPs say that “this decision will make sure that the new council is shaped by councillors and elected by the people in its first crucial months, not run by unelected caretakers”.
Commenting, Chair of the MPs’ “Team for Cornwall”, Matthew Taylor said:
“This is a simple choice – democracy or delay. Holding back democratic elections half a year might suit some local government bureaucrats and former councillors, but it would be the worst possible start for the new council. The people of Cornwall have to have their say before crucial decisions are taken that will shape Cornwall for years to come.
“Liberal Democrats will fight the June election on a manifesto to deliver greener, fairer and better value services for Cornish residents. Delaying elections would have left an unelected council leading Cornwall, and months of delay before a new elected Council could get down to the job of improving public services and saving taxpayers’ money.”
Falmouth and Camborne’s MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Local Government, Julia Goldsworthy added:
“This new authority is an important first step to get decisions presently taken in Swindon or Whitehall devolved to Cornwall, and we need much better than temporary caretakers in charge. A June election is the right decision – as Cornish businesses and residents face the worst recession in decades, the last thing they need is Cornwall’s Council hamstrung by delay and indecision awaiting elections. The new Council has a vital role in helping Cornwall get through this recession – delaying the elections to the autumn would have been a disaster.”
The team of Cornish MPs wrote to the Local Government Minister John Healey on 29th January 2009 setting out their view that the new Council should be elected at the earliest opportunity, with 123 councillors serving a four year term. Where Parish Councils or others have requested uncontroversial changes to the draft boundaries, these should be implemented before June 4th, and the MPs have pressed the Local Government Minister to guarantee resources are available to ensure this happens