West Oxfordshire Alliance to be led by Lib Dems

West Oxfordshire District Council is to be led by a coalition of the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green parties after the Conservatives lost their majority last week for the first time in 22 years.

This marks a continuing trend in Oxfordshire, once a true blue wall outside the City of Oxford which remains solidly Labour. The Tories only holdout is now Cherwell in the north of the county.

A third of the authority was elected last Thursday. The Conservatives have 20 councillors; Lib Dems 15; Labour 9; independents 3; and Green 2. That gives the Alliance 26 seats, against 23 for the Conservatives and independents.

Lib Dem group leader Andy Graham will head the West Oxfordshire Alliance with Labour’s Duncan Enright as deputy.

Graham said the alliance will have a series of policy objectives, including tackling the climate emergency through rapid decarbonisation. The alliance will also aim to ensure social justice, prioritise health and wellbeing, and in partnership with others, ensure the district’s rivers are kept clean, unpolluted and free of sewage discharge.

What we learned from the election was that people did not always feel totally engaged in many of the things that happen in regard to local services, or in fact contacting the council.

We want to make sure this is an open council. It is the people’s council. It belongs to the residents.

Oxfordshire County Council is also controlled by a Lib Dem, Labour and Green alliance. The Lib Dems control Vale of White Horse District Council and a Lib Dem and Green Alliance runs South Oxfordshire District Council. Oxford City Council is Labour-led. Cherwell District Council is now the only Conservative-led authority in Oxfordshire.

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10 Comments

  • Russell Simpson 12th May '22 - 9:27am

    Following Germany’s lead and Red/Green/Yellow, the flag of Lithuania, Bolivia, Congo, Cameroon, Guinea, Benin, Mali, Ghana, Senegal etc. Could this be the UK in 2024? Need PR now!

  • It may well be that such a coalition proves necessary after the next election, but unless an immediate bill for PR is included in the coalition programme, then such a move will be disastrous for the LibDems. I have been suggesting for some time that the LibDems get a bill drafted to bring in STV for all elections that can be immediately introduced into the House of Commons and passed as a good faith gesture by those with whom we might go into coalition with. Without PR the chances of the LibDems getting more than a handful of MPs (as in 2015) will be slim, because the junior partner always takes the blame for the coalition’s decisions and gets hammered under FPTP.

  • Tristan Ward 12th May '22 - 12:44pm

    Totally agree with Mick Taylor. No immediate PR – no coalition with anyone after an election if we are lucky enough to get a hung parliament.

    I really don’t like this use of “alliance” to describe arrangements for running councils. I believe talk of alliances is toxic to the soft Tory voters we need to vote for us in blue wall areas if we are to win seats – both at Westminster and in local authorities.

    The Tories know this: it cannot be a coincidence the Mail is running stories about non-existent Lib/lab pacts. The Tories are talking them up as well. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10771327/Tory-chairman-accuses-Keir-Starmer-secret-election-pact-Lib-Dems-sway-local-election.html

    These arrangements with our political opponents are necessary to keep councils running smoothly in delivering services, and for the delivery of Liberal Democrat policies. Talking about “alliances” is bad politics, especially when no alliances with our opponents exist and our opponents want them to for their own advantage.

  • Paul Barker 12th May '22 - 4:06pm

    Just a point on the next Election, “Hung” Parliaments do not equal Coalitions – Minority Governments can work perfectly well. Labour Government does not need a Coalition & we should avoid joining one even if Labour go for PR – in fact they might find that easier if it looks like its their decision, their choice.

  • David Blake 13th May '22 - 9:24am

    I agree with the demand for PR by STV as a condition for any agreement and also think that we should not go for a formal coalition, just demand and supply. We should also think about whether we should ask for PR for national and local elections. Last week’s elections showed how appalling our electoral system is, with even Lib Dem councils such as Richmond, Kingston and St Albans being almost entirely Lib Dem on a much smaller share of the vote. This cannot produce good government.

  • It is no co-incidence that Farage stood down hundreds of Brexit Party candidates where a Tory held the seat, to ensure the Tory got elected.

    Tory complaints about pre-election pacts are ludicrous considering that they did the same just two years ago. Nor would they whinge about pacts if they thought they didn’t work.

    If you look at GE’s where Labour did well, the LibDems also tended to do well and when Labour did poorly, the LibDems also. The relationship would be because more or less voters wanted change from the default Tory Government, who win between 2/3- 3/4 of the time.

    Under Starmer, there is little or no fear factors from a Labour or Labour led government. The reverse of Corbyn.

  • Cherwell DC now has a mere 2 seat Tory majority. I now have a LibDem councillor for Bodicote, Adderbury & Bloxham for the first time in 20 years at least.

    I always felt that Oxfordshire was the sort of territory that LibDems could do well in, if enough work was done and there was at least one exceptional activist.
    David Hingley might well be that person. He believes LibDems could control Cherwell by next year’s elections.

  • A motion has gone in for the next Labour Conference from Compass members entitled “Only Stand to Win”, aimed at party constitutional change so Labour are able to stand down parliamentary candidates.

    What is the point of losing or risking losing deposits and campaign costs in seats where a party is never going to win, or never going to build up a big vote?

    With FPTP voting being such an incredibly high bar to meet unless you are either a big right wing internal coalition party or a big left wing internal coalition party and you have the luck of where people happen to live/boundaries fiddled, on your side?

    If not standing candidates directs resources better or allows a party with closer views to your own to win, then great!

  • Mick Taylor 17th May '22 - 7:44pm

    Sorry John. Parties standing down just denies voters choice. We really must stop talking about any kind of pre-election deals or candidates standing down. There are some voters, in all parties, who will always vote for their own party and they should be able to do so. Voters need to decide who can beat the Tory in their area and our job is to convince them it’s us. Unofficial discussions and tacit understanding about who is best placed to win are one thing, standing down quite another. As I said earlier if another party wants to encourage their supporters to lend their votes to the party best placed to beat the Tory, then so be it. Under FPTP pacts and coalitions come back to bite you. Let’s go out and win as many Tory seats as we can, get STV and then we can fight elections and even, occasionally enter a coalition, without the risk of being wiped out because of the electoral system

  • What Mick Taylor said.

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