I want to thank everyone who exercised their democratic right last week. What is clear that the majority did not vot.
I want to say to those people that I hear you. It is apparent that the majority have limited, if any, faith in politicians. They also have even less faith in political parties. It is now up to politicians to gain the trust of the electorate. A lot of work needs to be done and I will do my bit.
‘Majority did not vote Conservative’
The Conservatives received 14,667 votes while all opposition parties received 26,101. This is clear evidence that the majority did not vote for a Conservative administration. It is now up to opposition groups to decide who should govern the council.
I am making a strong case that it should be opposition parties that should form a new administration. This could be either a coalition, working alliance, a memorandum of understanding or another form of co-operation and joint working. It cannot be right that one party controls the council without having an outright majority of 31 seats or more.
I want to thank all those councillors who retired or lost their seats. They served the people of Peterborough the best they could. I wish them all the best in retirement. At the same time, I want to welcome all our newly elected councillors. They stepped up and are willing to serve in difficult circumstances.
‘Council needs fresh approach’
The council faces significant financial challenges. This is due to poor decision-making in the past. Without wishing to dwell on the past, I believe the council needs a fresh approach. What is exciting is that there is a lot of talent on the opposition benches. If opposition groups can find common ground, I am certain decision-making and governance will improve. What is also mean is that no one party will have total control or authority. The benefit of this is that more people and parties will be involved in formulating policy. The diversity of talent and experience means better ideas will be put forward. It is more likely that policy will be more balanced and objective because it will not be dictated by one political party.
I am a firm believer that Peterborough has huge potential. It is an untapped city for many reasons.
‘City crying out for change’
The city is crying out for change and improvement. We have the ability to improve people’s lives by investing in future generations. We have the ability to attract inward investment, better paid jobs, more opportunities and investing more in skills and improvement. The future is bright so long as the city has the right leadership. What we cannot afford is a repeat of the past. We cannot allow short-term thinking to compromise and jeopardise our long-term strategic objectives.
Irrespective of who leads the city, I assure you that Labour councillors will continue serving residents in their respective wars. We will continue with our surgeries, ward walks, speedwatch sessions, alongside everything else that we do. We have been elected to serve the best interests of our residents and we will do that to the best of our ability.