Bedford Borough Council’s Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors have been criticised for ordering a re-count of a vote they lost at last week’s Full Council meeting because not enough Labour councillors supported the Liberal Democrats. It is of course a condition of the Liberal Democrat and Labour coalition that the Lab Group supports their Liberal Democrat bosses in every vote.
The debacle occurred when mums from the 3 Norse Road estates asked the Liberal Democrat Education Portfolio Holder to correct an anomaly which prevents their children from accessing free school transport in contrast with families living in the other parts of Renhold Parish.
The Liberal Democrats put forward a motion that in effect rejected this request. There was then a vote which the Speaker confirmed had been lost; that meant that the Council would have to look again at the mums’ request. It then emerged that some Labour councillors had not supported the Liberal Democrat motion. Unbelievably, the Speaker, a Liberal Democrat, allowed the vote to be taken again and after some arm twisting of Labour councillors the motion was eventually passed
Conservative Cllr Alison Foster has hit out at the ‘disgraceful scenes’. She said:
‘Bedford Borough Council is supposed to be the bastion of local democracy. Instead, we saw disgraceful scenes with bully-boy tactics and a suspect re-vote
‘The lesson is that Labour councillors will be required to vote until they give the ‘right’ answer according to the Mayor and the Liberal Democrats.’