Who's in, who's out? Hokey Cokey time at Cornwall Cabinet
THE political fallout from Cornwall Council's budget- setting has this week seen councillors resigning from their party and one Cabinet member sacked.
There were accusations of electioneering and party- political squabbling as some Conservatives backed a budget freezing council tax drawn up by Liberal Democrat rivals.
However, those who voted against the nil tax increase have warned the decision could hit frontline services.
Last week Cabinet members Lance Kennedy and Carolyn Rule resigned from the Conservative group, saying they could not remain when colleagues had voted for the tax freeze. Both have become Independent councillors and will remain members of the council's Cabinet.
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Council leader Jim Currie had recommended a tax rise of 1.97 per cent and last week sacked Stephen Rushworth from the Cabinet after he voted against its proposal.
Mr Rushworth said: "I had always informed my fellow Cabinet members that I would support a zero per cent budget. On the two occasions the Cabinet voted on the budget I abstained, so I have been consistent in my view from the beginning. My sacking is even more surprising as last year Julian German voted against the Cabinet recommendation at the equivalent meeting and remained in the Cabinet.
"I'm not afraid to cross party lines if it benefits the people I represent."
Mr Kennedy said: "Even when told the consequences would be the loss of approximately 135 jobs, and a serious reduction in capacity to a number of services, [Conservative] members again voted in favour of the ill-thought out and speculative Liberal Democrat motion. The most significant behaviour that appalled me and has finalised my decision [to resign] was that some of the group laughed and cheered as they achieved their zero percent goal with no regard to the staff affected, many of whom were in tears at the prospect of losing their jobs.
"I cannot continue to be associated with a party that has chosen, even in these difficult times. to put party doctrine ahead of the people of Cornwall," he said.