Council's Krafty deal
NORTH Somerset Council's Labour group has got into bed with the ruling Liberal Democrats to prevent the majority Conservative party from electing a leader and taking over the decision-making executive. The new joint administration saw Labour leader counci
NORTH Somerset Council's Labour group has got into bed with the ruling Liberal Democrats to prevent the majority Conservative party from electing a leader and taking over the decision-making executive.The new joint administration saw Labour leader councillor Muriel Kraft and Cllr Alan Cotton become executive members for adult services and property and people at the expense of Lib Dem councillors Ron Moon and Bob Steadman.Cllr Kraft also became the council's deputy leader in a move that marks Labour's first positions on the executive in North Somerset's history. The union was agreed to block the Tories 25-23 seat majority over the Lib Dems following the recent defections of council chairman Roz Willis and Cllr Bob Coleman.The Conservative group argued there was an honourable tradition of the majority party electing its own leader, but the Labour and Lib Dem councillors voted against it at the full council meeting on Tuesday (June 27).Conservative leader Mike Roe said: "We're quite happy to live with a formal coalition between the Labour and Lib Dem parties."They have finally gone public after operating a clandestine coalition for the last 18 months."We are the party that will be offering a clear choice at the next election with some clear differences on policies."Cllr Muriel Kraft said: "It's an historic moment for the Labour group in North Somerset."We felt it was necessary to take a position of power to keep the smooth running of the council."We're having a joint administration and will continue to criticise both the Lib Dems as well as the Conservatives."But one Labour councillor expressed concern about the deal with regard to next May's local elections.He said: "This could really come back to shoot us in the foot, especially if the Lib Dems target our seats next May."Council leader Alan Hockridge said: "We enter this agreement with open eyes and fully accept that party campaigning will take place as we approach next year's election.