Tories hit out at new council leader over delay to Mayor-making ceremony

Cllr Derek Bastiman (left) has criticised Cllr Siddons' decision to delay the ceremony.
Cllr Derek Bastiman (left) has criticised Cllr Siddons' decision to delay the ceremony.

The Conservative group on Scarborough Council has hit out at the new leader’s decision to postpone the annual Mayor-making ceremony.

The ceremony, which was due to take place on Thursday, will now take place on June 5 at the request of leader Cllr Steve Siddons.

The Tories also attacked the Labour leader’s request to postpone appointing councillors to committees made at yesterday’s full council meeting, meaning a new meeting of the full authority will have to be held later this month.

In a statement, the Conservative Group said that the “private and business arrangements of a number of members of the council, from all parties, have been thrown into disarray, including holiday arrangements and business meetings”.

Conservatives Hazel Lynskey and Roberta Swiers were voted in as Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively but now face a shortened term in office following the delay.

The Conservative statement added: “The situation was aggravated at this week’s council meeting when the Labour leadership scuppered the planned make-up of the committees despite each of the groups having put forward their selections for membership of the council’s committees.

“As a result, another council meeting is having to be held later this month, at a significant cost to the council tax payers – an unnecessary waste of public money.”

The decision by the Labour leadership was called “feckless” by the Conservative group.

Cllr Derek Bastiman, leader of the Conservatives on the council, added: “We know that in the past the Labour group have boycotted most of the Mayor-making ceremony, so is this just another way of showing their total disrespect and acknowledgement of this most prestigious event within the council year. The date was approved by the council 12 months ago.:

“While I accept Cllr Siddons’ attitude towards any civic function, I feel that as the council leader he should display more openness and transparency which appears to be his ‘buzz word’ at the moment.”

In response, the council leader said the delay was down to 20 new councillors joining the council.

Cllr Siddons said: “No one expected such a tumultuous result, we all expected little change.

“The Tory group may only have one new member but other groups have many.

“Every new member and their constituents deserve proper representation on the council. New councillors need appropriate briefing and time to read up hundreds of pages of information.

“This short delay is in respect of our constituents decision and not intended as disrespectful of the council or mayoralty.

“I was pleased the current Mayor Joe Plant agreed with my concerns and at the council meeting allowed extra time before we elect a Mayor, choose committees and send councillors to represent us at important outside bodies.”