Plans to slash number of councillors rejected

Mike Starkie Credit: ITV Border

A proposal to slash the number of Copeland councillors by more than a third has been rejected.

An independent report commissioned by elected mayor Mike Starkie had suggested reducing the number of councillors from 51 to 33.

Labour members voted against the proposals with Conservative members backing the plan.

Peter Connolly, chairman of the Labour group successfully put forward an alternative plan to ask the Boundary Commission to carry out a review.

“It is an independent and impartial advisory public body and we want them to carry out the review in the manner which they have followed in other areas. Therefore we do not support any report which sets out a premature or predetermined position,” he said.

However mayor Starkie announced that he is to press ahead with a personal submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission expressing his support for the original plan to cut councillors back to 33 members.

Mr Starkie said: “I’m disappointed that this recommendation to reduce the size of this Council to 33 has been rejected – and I’m doubly disappointed that it has been rejected in a three-line whipped vote in which the majority of councillors put party politics and self-interest above an independent recommendation and the views of the electorate.

“I’ve had a long-held belief that this Council is over-governed and the number of 51 is disproportionately high.”