Newly-formed district council coalition bids to take control after eight councillors leave ruling independent group

PUBLISHED: 18:16 15 May 2020 | UPDATED: 18:16 15 May 2020

Blackdown House, East Devon District Council's Honiton headquarters. Picture: Dan WIlkins

Blackdown House, East Devon District Council's Honiton headquarters. Picture: Dan WIlkins

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Eight district councillors have defected from the ruling Independent Group and have formed a new group which plans to take control of the authority.

Seven of the group have formed a new Independent Progressive Group while the eighth has joined the Democratic Alliance – a group formed of the East Devon Alliance, Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, and now three Independents.

East Devon District Council leader Ben Ingham has called the decision ‘profoundly disappointing’.

It leaves the ruling Independent Group, which runs the council, with just 10 members, with 24 in the Democratic Alliance, seven in the Independent Progressive Group, and 19 Conservatives.

But the new Independent Progressive Group has formed a coalition partnership with the Democratic Alliance and the two groups aim to work together to form a new administration

The coalition of the Independent Progressive Group and the Democratic Alliance contains 31 councillors – and therefore they would have an outright majority of the 60 strong council.

The coalition plans to form a new administration to run the council and an extraordinary virtual full council has been called and is set to take place on Wednesday, May 27.

However, it is expected that a second meeting a week later would be when the vote on the leadership of the council would take place.

In a joint statement, the seven said: “We all stood as Independent councillors so that we could make a difference for the people that we represent and feel we will be better able to achieve this by being part of a forward-thinking, more progressive administration.

“We all look forward to continuing doing our utmost for the communities we serve.”

Cllr Ingham has confirmed that three of the councillors, who were part of the cabinet, have not been sacked from their positions.

He said: “It is always a shame when anything stops something you believe can work, and it is profoundly disappointing as a leader because I look back over the last 12 months and I am very pleased with what we achieved as a team.”


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