Copeland Mayor dismisses Labour members from his Executive

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The Copeland Labour Party have accused Mayor Mike Starkie of breaking one of his campaign pledges - to work with everyone from all parties. 

Today (20 July), the Labour Group on the council have claimed that Mayor Starkie has sacked all Labour members from his Executive.

In the 2019 local elections the Conservative Mayoral candidate recieved just 17% of the vote. The Labour candidate received 26% of the vote. Mike Starkie as an independent candidate received 57%.

In the same local elections the people of Copeland voted for a majority Labour council, with 57.6% of the vote.

In June 2020, Starkie switched to the Conservative Party. At the time of his switch he said, "What remains unchanged is my desire to continue working in cooperation with councillors of all political persuasions in the best interests of the people of Copeland.”

The leader of Copeland Labour Group, Michael McVeigh, has expressed his disappointment at the Mayor’s decision.

Cllr McVeigh said: “We have today been summarily dismissed from Copeland Borough Council’s Executive by the unelected Conservative Mayor, Mike Starkie.

“We were understandably disappointed by him joining the Conservatives, but we were willing to continue in partnership, for the benefit of the people of Copeland. 

"However, I was informed this afternoon that Mr Starkie has sacked Cllr Gwyneth Everett and myself from his executive, ending the partnership agreement.

“Basically he has thrown his toys out of the pram because we tried to push him to have a public meeting to explain his actions. He wanted to avoid accountability. He joined the Conservative Party, having been elected on a promise to put people before politics. In breaking that promise he changed everything - and yet for some reason he was not prepared to come to a council meeting and explain his decision in public.

“We are the biggest group, by far, but we did not ask for anything for ourselves - we wanted him to fight for more funding for local people and, when it is safe, to hold a by-election so that people could decide if they wanted a Conservative mayor. That might not have been until the middle of next year, and we were quite prepared to work in partnership and support him in the interim.

“For us, this was always about what is best for local people. We will press on with our calls for a public meeting, using the constitution of the Council, because the Mayor has not agreed to our request to come forward and hold the meeting willingly.

“He’s great at publicity and self-promotion, so why is he afraid of going back to the public for a vote?”

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Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland: Copeland Mayor dismisses Labour members from his Executive
Copeland Mayor dismisses Labour members from his Executive
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Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland
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