Crucial meeting to determine power at Peterborough City Council results in stalemate

The meeting had the possibility to change Peterborough’s political landscape

A crucial meeting held between the Conservative Group and the four independent councillors of Peterborough First has resulted in a stalemate.

The Conservatives hold the majority of seats (28) on Peterborough City Council following the recent 2022 Local Elections, but critically do not have the 31-vote majority to form an administration.

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Peterborough political group leaders speak out ahead of meeting between Conserva...
Peterborough First (councillor Chris Harper, right) have said their individual views have not changed after their meeting with the Conservative Group on 16 May (left, Wayne Fitzgerald) (images: David Lowndes)

The meeting, which had the potential to change the politcial landscape of the city, was held to see if the Conservative proposed policies going forward were acceptable to Peterborough First.

Peterborough First forming an alliance with the Conservatives would have the majority needed to form a new administration.

Last week, three of the independent councillors went on the record stating that they would not support a Conservative-led administration under any circumstances while Conservative councillor Wayne Fitzgerald remains leader of that group.

Following the meeting last night, councillor Fitzgerald said: “We listened, they listened, and they said they would decide on the night (23 May) – that’s it.”

Councillor Chris Harper, leader of the Peterborough First Group said: “I can advise that after tonight’s meeting with the Conservative Group our individual views have not changed.

“Councillor Steve Lane remains undecided at this stage.

“Councillors Judy Fox, John Fox and myself, councillor Chris Harper, would still vote against the council leader councillor Wayne Fitzgerald should a no confidence vote come forward.”

During the remaining days between now and the Full Council on 23 May there will probably a lot of private discussions going backwards and forwards at all of the groups concerned to see if a ‘rainbow coalition’ as some have called it could be possible.

Leader of the Labour Group, councillor Shaz Nawaz, former leader of the Lib Dems Group, councillor Nick Sandford and leader of the Green Party Group, councillor Nicola Day have all indicated they would like to work as a coalition of some kind with the Peterborough First Group is possible.

Councillor Harper has always stressed that the four members remain independent in their thinking, they have no party politics and do not follow a ‘whip’.

Any decisions that they make on policies, the group have said will be determined on ‘the merit of the proposal for the people of Peterborough’ and decided with their individual conscience.

The decision of a new administration will be determined at the Full Council meeting of Peterborough City Council, to be held Monday, 23 May 2022.