Open war at County Hall over council tax freeze vote
3:06pm Friday 1st March 2013 in News
There has been an exodus from the Conservative political group following the vote to freeze council tax at Cornwall Council, with the atmosphere described as "tense and resentful".
Cabinet member Carolyn Rule has left the party and become an independent, as a “matter of conscience”.
She had voted to increase council tax by 1.97 per cent.
Mrs Rule told the Packet: “I couldn't live with my own conscience. My dad always taught me to believe that for bad things to happen good people have to keep quiet.
“I love what I'm doing. But I won't buy votes by doing something I think is wrong.”
Fellow cabinet member Lance Kennedy has quit the Conservative group, saying said he could no longer support the party following the group's support of a Lib Dem amendment to freeze council tax.
He is reported as saying that the last straw was some councillors behaviour, laughing and cheering following the budget vote, when staff were upset over the fears they would lose their jobs.
He added that the freeze vote put the party before the people of Cornwall.
The third change in the cabinet was not voluntary, with Stephen Rushworth, economy and regeneration portfolio holder, being shown the door by council leader Jim Currie.
Mr Rushworth was the only cabinet member to vote for the freeze.
Cllr Jude Robinson (Labour Camborne) said: "The atmosphere at County Hall is tense and resentful. Since the hi-jacking of the budget setting meeting, political opposition has spilled over to suppressed anger against both the Lib Dems and the right wing Tories, who teamed up together.
"Funnily enough, it is the Conservatives who are angriest about their own party. Two have resigned from the party (Carolyn Rule and Lance Kennedy) but remain in the cabinet and everyone expects a third soon. Conservative Stephen Rushworth was in the cabinet but voted against the Cabinet budget, and seems oddly surprised that he got the sack."