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Opinion

Has Crawley’s Council Leader just made a clever political chess move?

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At first glance it looks like Crawley’s Labour party has resigned itself to the fact that they are now a minority party in the town.

The invite to call a ‘motion of no confidence’ appears at first to be a suggestion that there ‘should’ be a vote to decide who runs the council, but let’s look at it more closely.

First of all, the invite itself is actually unnecessary. An opposing party can call for the motion at any time they want, they do not need an invite to do so.

So by sending the invite the Crawley Leader is almost tempting the opposing party to call a vote, trying to illustrate to the real voters, the residents, that it is the responsible thing to do.

So why wouldn’t the Conservatives take up the invite?

The real question is actually ‘why would they?’. It may seem odd that a party who wants to run the council would not challenge the current situation but the reality is there is no security that a challenge would even work in their favour.

And this is the very clever part.

For if a motion is called then it falls to a vote of all the councillors, two of which are now independent, and whilst they may no longer be with Labour, they are certainly not Conservatives.

So to think they would vote with the Conservatives would be a very naive expectation.

So, their only real options are to abstain, or to vote with Labour.

If they vote with Labour then the council remains the way it is till the next election in May 21.

But if they abstain then the Conservatives take over control and (the really clever part) the fate of the town falls on their shoulders. This means that any blame of the situation is moved away from the Labour party and directed at two individuals instead.

This political game of chess could not come at a worst time with COVID-19 making such a devastating impact on the town at the moment.

The Conservatives could make the decision to ignore the invite and continue as things stand till next year. Almost test their voting power, so to speak, and then if they find they have the votes then make a decision to call a motion of no confidence at a later date. For there is no rush with this, it is not something they ever had to wait for an invite for.

Of course there is the possibility that this is a genuine offer to call for a motion of no confidence – but this is politics, and does anyone really believe that?

Opinion

Crawley Councillor who resigned from Labour party is…err… STILL a Labour councillor for West Sussex Council

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You are going to have to bear with me on this one because even I am struggling to understand how this is even possible or allowed – well actually it may not be if party rules are to be followed.

Remember last week when two Labour councillors resigned? Well one of them was and still is a County Councillor – so you might expect that leaving Labour and becoming an Independent would mean – well – that you have left Labour and become Independent – DUH!

Stupid thing to say isn’t it, I mean it’s obvious. What other way is there to think?

Apparently a completely different way, that’s how!

For West Sussex County Council has now confirmed that the EX-Labour Borough Councillor Karen Sudan is in-fact still representing Labour on the County Council.

How is this even allowed?

This raises a worrying and somewhat confusing rule. For if this is totally ok with local government then it means you could represent one party as a county councillor and a completely different party for the borough.

But let’s add to the mix that the Labour Rules state that in order to represent the party you MUST be a member. But Cllr Sudan is no longer a member.

There is also something else here that would not be a miss within some conspiracy theory. IF Cllr Sudan was to stop representing Labour in the County Council, then the amount paid in allowances changes dramatically. Having 5 members instead of 4 allows more than £6K in additional allowances to be paid to the groups leader.

A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said:

“Cllr Karen Sudan has informed us that she remains a member of the Labour Group on West Sussex County Council. The County Council is aware that Cllr Sudan is now an independent on Crawley Borough Council.”

So where does this leave us at the moment. Well if you are one of the voters who ticked the box for Cllr Sudan then you may be thinking, what party have I voted for, and you would not be criticised for thinking so.

What is needed is clarity of the situation…not an independent Councillor waving a Labour flag.

Both Cllr Sudan and Cllr Michael Jones have been approached for comment.

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