Idea of a 'rainbow coalition' for Scarborough Council is rejected by its Independent Group

Scarborough Council’s Independent Group has rejected calls to form a “rainbow coalition” to see the authority through the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Wednesday, 13th May 2020, 3:36 pm

Former council leader and current Conservative group leader Cllr Derek Bastiman had urged the council to put aside political differences and work together during the crisis.

The Labour council leader, Cllr Steve Siddons, declined the offer and now the leader of his party’s coalition partner The Independent Group has backed his stance.

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Cllr Janet Jefferson, who sits on the Labour and Independent cabinet, said: “The Independent Group whilst rejecting this suggestion would point out that the former leader’s administration was comprehensively rejected at the 2019 local elections and feel that by allowing Cllr Bastiman to have any role in an administration would be a gross betrayal of the voters’ wishes and the mandate they gave us.”

Since May 2019, Scarborough Council has been ruled by a Labour and Independent Group coalition after that month’s elections saw the end of 20 years of Conservative control.

In a letter to all the group leaders on the council, Cllr Bastiman wrote that the authority should look to use the skills of all its members.

He added: “The borough council is the ideal organisation to take forward the initiative and with this in mind I have suggested to my fellow group leaders that a coalition administration should be set up, bringing together all political affiliations, and those with none, to enable the borough to be prepared to take on board opportunities which may be presented to us.”