3:07pm Tuesday 20th August 2013
By Graeme Hetherington
THE embattled leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council is to be asked by his political rivals to stand down with immediate effect.
Labour's George Dunning has come under increased pressure after the party lost overall control of the local authority.
Now Liberal Democrat group leader Glyn Nightingale has announced his plan to table a motion at next month’s full council meeting calling on Councillor Dunning to stand down.
He said: “It is time for Labour to go. George Dunning’s Labour Group has lost the confidence and support of his own party and of local councillors, and, more importantly, of local people. No wonder George Dunning has lost his majority on the Council.”
The motion has been seconded by fellow Lib Dem councillor Josh Mason. “After a series of bungled Labour policies on raising Council Tax, parking charges in Saltburn and saying ‘No’ to a theatre in Guisborough, it is clear that Councillor Dunning is bad for Redcar and Cleveland," he said.
“The Liberal Democrats call for him to resign immediately.”
However, the council leader remains defiant in the face of growing discord from within his own party.
Four branch Labour parties, Saltburn, Guisborough, Loftus and South Bank, upset that the former Guisborough Register Office was sold to a pub chain instead of a community theatre group, have condemned his leadership.
Despite this, following a Labour group meeting last night (Monday, August 19) Councillor Dunning remains leader of the council.
He said: “I’m still the leader of the Labour group and I’m still the leader of the council until September 5 and hopefully after then I will still be the leader of the council.
“As for Councillor Glyn Nightingale, he should look after his own party after they lost two members recently when they defected to become independent councillors.
“I have read the recent peer review which said the council had strong leadership, not just the leader, but the cabinet and the management team. This is just the Lib Dems trying to grasp power and go back to the terrible coalition days between 2003 and 2007.”
There is a small chance Councillor Dunning could lose control of the council. If a motion of no confidence was proposed and passed by 66 per cent of votes at full council he would be deposed.
However, it is still very unlikely because Labour is easily the largest political grouping with 29, one more than when the group came to power in 2007.
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group