‘Blue tsunami’ that engulfed England – including East Cambs – proves it’s time for electoral reform
There is no denying that Thursday, May 7, was a traumatic night for the Liberal Democrats, nationally and locally.
In East Cambridgeshire, in circumstances completely beyond its control, a Liberal Democrat council group of 10 was swept away in the blue tsunami that engulfed England, and has been reduced to a group of two.
Along with the now lone non-party councillor, we form the only challenge to an overwhelmingly dominant Conservative group.
In total, 52 per cent of the crosses on council ballot papers in East Cambridgeshire went to the Conservatives – yet the vagaries of our broken electoral system have given them 92 per cent of the council seats.
Voters whose 48 per cent of crosses went elsewhere are either under-represented, or not represented at all.
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East Cambridgeshire District Council claims to operate a committee system for making decisions, but in reality it operates like a cabinet.
Its leadership takes major decisions without reference to the council or its committees and those who are not part of the inner circle are left to read of them in the columns of the local press.
- 1 Max and Chloe become pioneers of community housing success in Cambs village
- 2 Emergency services – including two air ambulances – rush to A10 crash
- 3 Covid-19 numbers in Fenland higher than rest of county
- 4 Company ‘paralysed by Brexit’ forced to open warehouse in Holland
- 5 Biggest village in Cambridgeshire to get even bigger
- 6 Chief executive takes 'personal oversight' of inquiry into deputy leader's farm tenancy
- 7 Burglar who was spared by judge stole from woman three days later
- 8 Pedestrian dies crossing busy Cambridgeshire road
- 9 New youth centre could be built in Littleport
- 10 Former Top Gear star Rory Reid spotted filming with Lamborghini
Two years ago it abolished its scrutiny committee, reducing opportunities for minority group councillors to examine its decisions.
And with the power to ‘call in’ council decisions for review requiring support from five councillors, opposition members will find this avenue now blocked too.
The next four years are likely to see East Cambridgeshire District Council operating at its most undemocratic in living memory. Never was the case for electoral reform stronger and clearer.
CLLR LORNA DUPRÉ
Liberal Democrat group leader