Tory members of Hastings Borough Council’s (HBC) cabinet have been told today they are being kicked off the powerful decision making body.
In a move that has clearly come from the top Councillor Kim Forward, who was elected council leader in March, is showing that she’s not afraid to make changes.
Ms Forward ordered the removal of the Conservative councillors Rob Lee and Andrew Patmore from the cabinet earlier today, just hours before the group was due to meet.
Mr Lee who is leader of the eight strong Conservative group on HBC told Hastings In Focus: “It is a great shame that the Leader of the Council has made has made this decision to deny a voice to Conservative voters all over the town.
“No real reason has been given for the move and it will stifle debate. This is proof that Councillor Forward is not interested in hearing alternative points of view.”
He added: “Previous Labour leaders have seen the importance of consulting with opposition parties instead of listening only to voices that agree with them.
“Over the last few years the Conservatives have been proved right on many issues locally including the recently aborted plans to put solar panels on the Country Park which was very embarrassing to the Labour leadership.
“The fear of effective Conservative opposition has proved too much for Ms Forward who does not dare to face challenging questions from outside the Labour Party.”
Mr Lee says the Labour run HBC has been under fire for a series of controversial decisions and the Conservatives are concerned about what will happen without them on the cabinet.
“Over the last few years this council has made a string of poor decisions from closing down the town centre toilets, failed solar schemes and huge borrowing to fund the unwise purchase of commercial property. The Conservatives have been against these failed schemes and it seems that Labour no longer want to hear the dissenting voices of reason.”
We have contacted Ms Forward for her comment and to say why she chose to make such a fundamental change.