Cornwall Council's tory leader faces axe in public vote
Cornwall Council leader Alec Robertson faces a back-bench rebellion and a public sacking as councillors decide whether to remove him from his position today.
The Tory leader has been called to an emergency meeting at County Hall after grass-roots members unhappy at plans to privatise council services collected enough signatures to force a debate.
Opponents have formed a cross-party coalition of Liberal Democrats, rebel Tories, Independents and Cornish nationalists determined to remove the controversial Conservative, who has been repeatedly criticised for ignoring the will of the wider council.
Councillors campaigning to secure enough votes to oust Mr Robertson are yet to secure the backing of more than half of the membership of 123 councillors and claim the result is "too close to call".
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However, with around nine of Mr Robertson's own Tory group stubbornly refusing to give him their support, the issue is now thought to be out of the leader's hands.
And with a number of absentees expected across the political parties, one councillor recovering from major surgery and another seat vacant, some say the target to depose the leader has already been reached.
One member of the Conservatives said the cabinet has been furiously canvassing members all weekend in a bid to swing a number of key votes Mr Robertson's way.
If Mr Robertson loses the vote, former deputy leader Jim Currie is expected to emerge as the new leader.
Mr Currie resigned from the Cabinet over the "shared services" plans and could secure a majority by offering to postpone the controversial sell-off plans until after next year's elections.
Under the council's constitution a new leader must be elected at the meeting.