THE Conservatives have called for a vote of no confidence in the Labour leader of Cheshire East Council.

Conservative group leader Janet Clowes has put forward a motion of no confidence in Sam Corcoran to Wednesday’s (July 17) meeting of the full council and is calling for the election of a new leader.

The call follows a damning peer review report on the council from the Local Government Association, which warned Cheshire East is at risk of effective bankruptcy if it doesn’t take quick action.

Cllr Clowes told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) today: “In light of the recent negative performance of this council in multiple areas including Ofsted, financial competence, and in terms of the corporate peer review challenge and the need to go for exceptional financial support, the Conservative group is deeply concerned that, after five years, this council needs a strong leader to take us out of this situation and to avoid a S114 notice.

Cllr Janet ClowesCllr Janet Clowes (Image: Cheshire East Council)

“Unfortunately the current leader of council has been in charge throughout this period and, as the head of council, must take responsibility for its poor performance.

“Consequently we do not have confidence in him to lead us out of this situation into a sustainable financial position and we look to the Labour party to appoint a new leader of council to take us forward during this critical period when this council must act at pace.”

Cllr Corcoran told the LDRS: “It is surprising, as we had a vote only a few months ago the Conservatives lost, that they are wanting to re-run the vote so soon.

Cllr Sam CorcoranCllr Sam Corcoran (Image: Cheshire East Council)

“It seems the Conservatives are wanting to play party politics at a time when we should all be pulling together and the papers for full council include an invitation to the Conservative group to participate in an assurance panel.

"I hope they will take up this offer.”

The previous leadership vote, which Cllr Corcoran referred to, took place at the full meeting of the council in May.

The LDRS asked Cheshire East to look into a discrepancy in the figures, as the minutes show 74 councillors attended the meeting but 75 voted in the leadership election, which Cllr Corcoran won by a single vote.

Clarification was sought on the discrepancy in the figures as opposed to challenging the outcome of the vote itself.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Any recorded vote must be formally requested, in line with the constitutional requirement, before the vote has begun to be counted.

“In this case, no recorded vote was called for, so there is no way of determining how individual members chose to vote.

“Several members of the council’s democratic services team counted the votes and all arrived at the same numbers. The vote, although close, was not challenged at the meeting and was therefore carried.

“The voting was recorded as follows for the election of leader: For: 35; Against: 34; Abstain: six – a total of 75 votes.

“For the election of deputy leader: For: 38; Against: 29; Abstain: seven – a total of 74 votes.”