Attempt by Tories, Labour and BNP to oust Lib Dem fails by one vote

News just in from Burnley where the local Liberal Democrats have put out this press release:


Councillors from the BNP, Tories and Labour parties tonight joined together to try to unseat Coun Gordon Birtwistle as leader of Burnley Council – but failed after one opposition councillor abstained.

There was tension in the chamber as the votes were counted, with the four BNP, six Tory and eleven of the twelve Labour councillors voting against Coun Birtwistle. But for the abstention of a single senior Labour councillor, the vote could have seen the Council without a leader.

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said, “This unholy alliance between the BNP, Labour and the Conservatives will be a real shock to the people of Burnley and to their members across the country. Quite how those three parties could get into bed together is beyond us. Labour are now so far to the right of the Tories, all three of these parties consider themselves politically aligned.

“We are now challenging Labour nationally to make it clear to their party in Burnley: is it acceptable to form an alliance with the BNP and the Tories to try to unseat a Liberal Democrat leader? What closed-door discussions between these parties took place?

“Fortunately, they lost the vote, and we did not get to find out who they were planning to propose instead of Gordon.”

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  • So what’s the rule – parties have to decide their actions and votes purely by reference to what is the opposite of what the BNP are doing?

  • Given the ludicrous expenses claims by the local MP. Living in a house for 4 years then deciding we can pay for the plumbing and decor then we really need to hammer this home and unseat this vile freeloader.

  • “So what’s the rule – parties have to decide their actions and votes purely by reference to what is the opposite of what the BNP are doing?”

    This was a vote to decide the leader of the Council – so of huge symbolic and practical importance hardly any ordinary vote.

    Bottom line – Labour and the Tories would rather work with the BNP than see a Lib Dem elected as leader

    If Labour and the Tories are willing to seek the support of the BNP to win political power then what do they do next week?

  • “However, trying to oust somebody, when it is clear you could only replace them with an actively supported joint Tory/Labour/BNP candidate, is extremely shameful.”

    Which is exactly the situation here.

    Council balance is
    22 LD, 12 Lab, 6 Con, 4 BNP (1 vacancy in a LD held seat & Labour Mayor)

    To quote President Bartlett, “what were the next 10 words”. Is anyone seriously suggesting that with that arithmetic there wasn’t a plan for if they’d won the vote?

  • Does the level of shame not depend on the details of the deal struck?

    If you can get into power by making reasonable concessions, then you can enact the policies you think the people may want.

    I have no objection to the Lib Dems highlighting divisions in the Labour party. If one part of the party says “we will never work with the BNP” and another says “we have made a deal”, then that is worthy of note.

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