Friday, June 05, 2020

A reminder of Leicester's absurd one-party state

Well done to Leicester's Liberal Democrat councillor Nigel Porter. The Leicester Mercury reports that has secured a donation of 2000 facial masks that will be distributed through shops in his Aylestone ward.

His achievement gives me that chance to mention again how absurd the city's politics have become.

For not only is Nigel Leicester's only Lib Dem councillor: he is its only opposition councillor. Labour holds 53 of the 54 seats on the city council.

I'm not a fan of the mayoral system, but where it does operate the council that holds the mayor to account must be elected by a proportional system. That will ensure a reasonable representation of opposition parties, even at a time when the mayor's party is dominant.

At last year's all-out city elections Labour secured an impressive 65 per cent of the vote, but that shouldn't have won them 98 per cent of the councillors.

And ultimately those councillors are whipped by the city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, whose performance they are meant to be scrutinising.

I made this point on Twitter after the 2015 elections, where the Conservatives and Lib Dems each returned a single councillor. Rory Palmer, then the city's deputy mayor, tweeted in reply that it was "absurd to question [the] system".

He later overcame his objection to proportional systems sufficiently to allow him to serve in the European parliament.

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