Insults hurled at meeting

PUBLISHED: 07:40 15 June 2006 | UPDATED: 09:27 24 May 2010

THE future leadership of North Somerset Council has been left in the balance after the Conservative group became the largest party - but did not take over the decision-making Executive. Insults were traded between members at this week's full council meeti

THE future leadership of North Somerset Council has been left in the balance after the Conservative group became the largest party - but did not take over the decision-making Executive.Insults were traded between members at this week's full council meeting following the news that chairman Roz Willis and councillor Bob Coleman had joined the Conservatives - giving the Tories a two-member advantage over the Liberal Democrats.Conservative group leader Cllr Mike Roe asked Lib Dem leader Cllr Alan Hockridge if he would stand aside so another leader could be selected.But after a heated debate, Conservative, Labour and independent councillors voted to decide on whether to change the leader at the next council meeting on June 27.Cllr Roe said North Somerset had an honourable precedent for letting the majority party choose the council's leader.He said: "I think Cllr Hockridge should have done the honourable thing and stood aside. We would expect to have the opportunity to take over the leadership of the council at the next meeting."Cllr Hockridge said he would work with any member of the council to keep providing services through his executive.He said: "I would have been very happy to let the council vote on the leadership democratically, but the Conservatives voted to defer the decision."Labour group leader Muriel Kraft told the council no deals had been made to form a coalition with the Lib Dems.Taunts were thrown by the Lib Dems at Cllr Willis as she chaired Tuesday evening's meeting.Cllr Willis said she left the Lib Dems because she was being used as a pawn in a political game.She said: "Give me the same respect as you give the council. I will remain unbiased in this chair and continue to work in this way as I have always done."Cllr Coleman said he joined the Conservatives because he had been working closely with the group on waste management.

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