The Conservatives suffered their first defeat under their new leader after opposition Peterborough City Council groups voted against them.
The Conservatives could lose their positions as chairs of council scrutiny committees after an amendment was passed at a meeting of full council last night (Wednesday, May 20).
The amendment from Councillor Darren Fower sees his fellow Liberal Democrat member Cllr Nick Sandford appointed chair of the Sustainable Growth and Environment Capital Scrutiny Committee.
Labour’s Cllr Nick Thulbourn becomes vice chair of the committee.
The amendment also specifies that the chair and vice chair for the: Strong and Supportive Communities Scrutiny Committee, Creating Opportunities and Tackling Inequality Scrutiny Committeee, Scrutiny Commission for Rural Communities and Scrutiny Commission for Health Issues are also chosen by members of the committee.
The Conservatives hold three of the seven seats in each of the four committees so do not have a majority.
The amendment was passed by 28 votes to 27 and prompted applause from the opposition seats.
The Conservatives voted against the amendment.
Cllr Mohammed Jamil, leader of the Labour group, said cross-party work on the committees could restore confidence in the council.
Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, the new deputy leader of the Conservatives, asked the opposition groups not to exclude Conservative members as committee chairs.
Cllr Chris Ash, a Liberal Party member, said: “It’s not about us or them. It’s about getting as many experienced people involved as possible.”
New council leader Cllr John Holdich, who disagreed with the amendment, said: “As it’s the will of the council I will do my best to make it work.”