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Tory leadership in crisis – again… 24 February, 2012

Posted by Jeremy Rowe in News, Politics.
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In what has come to be known as the ‘post-democratic era’ at Cornwall Council, I thought there was very little that could still surprise me about the endless conspiracy and back-biting that swirls around the authority’s Conservative Group. All that changed today, however.

As you may have seen elsewhere, the Deputy Leader of the Tory group has resigned his position, citing skullduggery over the Stadium project and a broader disaffection with Alec Robertson’s leadership style. There are a couple of passages in Scott Mann’s resignation letter which are pure dynamite:

After much thought I have decided to resign from my position as deputy leader of our group. I’m afraid that the straw that broke the camels back is the funding of the stadium for Cornwall. Although the group are generally supportive of the stadium they have made it clear on two separate occasions that no tax payer funding should be used. However a report is now being presented asking for 12-16 million pounds worth of funding.

and:

There appears to be separation from what the group are saying and what you are doing. It is my view that your leadership style is one that is not conducive to democratic decision making.

In a sense this is faintly reminiscent of Geoffrey Howe’s famous assassination of Margaret Thatcher’s Premiership, but anyone who thinks this automatically spells the end for Alec Robertson’s leadership of Cornwall Council should think twice before laying any bets. We have, after all, been here before. It was only last year that his own membership tried to topple him – he survived by the skin of his teeth and even claimed it represented an endorsement of his style. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the bunker mentality only becomes stronger as a result of this.

Nevertheless, this has not been a great week for the Leader. He came a poor second in his needless spat with the Council’s Chairman and was condemned by Members from all sides for some unwarranted personal attacks on his opponents during the budget debate. The unwelcome resignation of a high-profile member has capped off an embarrassing few days for him. Is he likely to pay any attention and learn from the experience? No one should hold their breath.

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