East Riding is a unitary authority with all the seats up for election on Thursday. At present there are 46 Conservative councillors, 13 Lib Dems, three Labour, four independents and one for the SDP (for those of you who didn't know that party was still around.)
There has been some lively factionalism in the Conservative Group. The Council leader, Cllr Stephen Parnaby, was deselected but then reinstated. Supporters of the Taxpayers Alliance were involved in the attempted uprising prompted by indignation over an early retirement scheme.
Instead a couple of critics of the scheme have been ditched as candidates – although others such as Cllr Paul Robinson, who has a very good blog, remain in place. Where a Council has a large Conservative majority there is a danger of complacency and it is welcome that there is the prospect of deselection. Conservative voters and Conservative members are entitled to expect that when they have a Conservative council it should have Conservative policies – rather than being a Council that is Conservative in name only. If there is going to be a split it is far more justifiable to have one over policy direction that trivial personality clashes.
However it be acknowledged that under Cllr Parnaby there have been significant savings in management costs. No libraries are closing. He also seems to have made friends with the Taxpayers Alliance – at least giving a constructive response to their survey on mileage allowances.
“Honestly, I didn’t know that officers got more than 50p per mile. As a councillor, I get only 32p per mile and I maybe assumed it would be the same. I will certainly look into this and if there are savings to be had then we will consider them.”