Partnership plan will be debated by Cornwall Council after mass petition
PLANS to move council services into a new partnership with a private firm will have to be debated by Cornwall Council again after a petition gathered more than 5,000 signatures.
The petition was launched by Independent councillor Andrew Wallis after he tabled a motion at a full council meeting calling for withdrawal from the project which was supported by a majority of councillors but subsequently ignored by the ruling Cabinet.
In less than three weeks the online petition has gathered almost 4,000 signatures while paper copies have collected more than 1,200. However not all paper copies have been returned and it is believed as many as 1,000 more signatures have been collected.
Mr Wallis said: "I really cannot believe how quickly this target has been reached. I believe people have really got behind it, because they feel so strongly about what is happening at Cornwall Council."
Mebyon Kernow also welcomed the petition reaching its target.
Deputy leader Andrew Long said: "It is a testament to the feelings of the people of Cornwall that this petition has already reached the 5,000 mark. We must credit Councillor Wallis on the efforts he has put into getting to this stage. Without his enthusiasm and hard work this would have taken a lot longer. Now we want the Cabinet to take this strong message and cancel this failed proposal."
Under council guidelines 5,000 signatures triggers a debate at a full council meeting. The next full council meeting is on October 23.
Before that there is an extraordinary meeting of the council on October 16 to consider a motion of a vote of no confidence in council leader Alec Robertson.
The motion was tabled by councillors in response to Mr Robertson's Cabinet deciding to ignore the vote at full council calling for the withdrawal of the council from the shared services project.
One Conservative councillor, who did not want to be identified, told the West Briton that Mr Robertson's days as leader could be numbered.
The councillor said: "I really don't think he will survive this – not only is there support for the vote of confidence across the Lib Dems, Independents and Mebyon Kernow there are also supporters in the Conservative Party."
However the councillor warned that the outcome could change depending on how the vote is conducted: "If it is done in a secret ballot then he will definitely go, however Alec and his supporters are pushing for a recorded vote and if that happens he could survive."