A motion has been passed by Cumbria County Council opposing its Labour leader’s intentions to launch a judicial review in to the radical redrawing of Cumbria’s political map.
It was put to council by Conservative member Stephen Haralsden in a meeting at Carlisle Racecourse on Wednesday (August 25).
The motion was to make leader of Cumbria County Council, Stewart Young, aware that members did not support the judicial review and that it would be “a waste of public money and time”.
It was passed 30 to 18 with eight councillors abstaining.
The new political model for Cumbria will see the east of the county managed as one authority – Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland – and the west – Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland – managed in the same way. Cumbria County Council will be scrapped as part of this.
Labour members on the council supported the leader’s right to object, feelings that the public should have been properly consulted on the model of local government in Cumbria.
It was also claimed that legislation prevents the Secretary of State for Housing, communities and local government from separating Cumbria.
Labour’s Frank Morgan said: “When I saw this meeting being called before the next full council I thought to myself ‘what is going on?’
“Then when I hear we’re challenging a potential judicial review, maybe some local politicians are trying to emulate their national leader in ignoring the law of the land.
“That’s a pattern of behaviour that served his political ambitions well.”
Regardless of whether the motion was passed or defeated, it would be for the leader to take the decision into account when considering whether to launch a judicial review.
Some members believe the meeting was a waste of the council’s time and money as the judicial review will be discussed at the next full council meeting.
Liberal Democrat Peter Thorton said: “This really is a wonderful day and a wonderful venue hired of course at some cost.
“So what a wonderful August day this is members. What a marvellous day to be out with the family walking the fells to be relaxing ready for a very taxing Autumn term.
“What a wonderful day to be driving half way across Cumbria to attend a totally pointless meeting.”
Councillor Haralsden said: “I welcome the opportunity finally to hear the myriad views on Local Government Reform that we’ve not had the opportunity over the last several years.
“I regret having to call this meeting but it was not unnecessary.
“This meeting was called to protect or try to protect the prize of Local Government Reform from the wrecking ambitions of the leader and the Labour Group.
“It’s great to finally hear that the Labour group believe the opinion of this council should and will not have any influence on the leader or executive, we suspected that for years but it’s nice to finally get it at a Jockey Club venue from the horse’s mouth.”
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