To consider the Motion on Notice received from Councillor Cresswell:
That this council does not have faith in the leadership of John Ward and asks that he resigns with immediate effect.
Proposer: Cllr Trevor Cresswell
Seconder: Cllr Allison Owen
59.1 The Chair informed Council that she was minded to limit the debate to 30 minutes and invited Councillor Cresswell to move the Motion.
59.2 Councillor Cresswell PROPOSED the Motion as detailed in the agenda and explained why this Motion had been brought to Council. The Motion was SECONDED by Councillor Owen, who reserved her right to speak.
59.3 Councillor Lindsay began the debate by stating that while he would be voting for the Motion, he was hesitant and felt that the Cabinet system was not working.
59.4 Councillor Beer stated that there had been an opportunity at the recent Cabinet meeting to put questions forward on some of the issues raised, in particular parking in Hadleigh and Sudbury. The meeting had been attended by some Members however, Councillors Cresswell and Owen had not taken part in the meeting.
59.5 Councillor Ayres supported the Motion as she was elected to represent the interests of her Ward and she has been inundated with letters from constituents expressing their unhappiness with how the Council had been dealing with issues in Sudbury.
59.6 Councillor Jan Osbourne expressed her support for Councillor Ward and stated that she would not be supporting the Motion.
59.7 Councillor Fraser stated that he would not be supporting the Motion and agreed with Councillor Beer that there had been no representation from Sudbury Members at the Cabinet Meeting on 4th February regarding parking issues.
59.8 Councillor Malvisi stated that the Cabinet system was working well and that it was Members’ responsibility to attend Cabinet meetings and to question and challenge Cabinet thinking. She stated that since she had become a Cabinet Member, she had never seen a non-Cabinet Member attending Cabinet meetings.
59.9 Councillor Maybury responded that she had attended Cabinet meetings and had asked questions. She would be supporting the Motion, as she believed Councillor Ward was not fulfilling the roles and functions of all Councillors as set out in the Constitution.
59.10 Councillor McCraw stated that it had been an incredibly difficult year, however, despite this the Council was being presented with a balanced budget and all essential works had continued. The three main issues raised by Councillor Cresswell were the work of a variety of different decision-making processes. He felt the Motion assigned blame which he felt was not appropriate and he urged Members not to support the Motion.
59.11 Councillor Davis commented that he had been a part of the Cabinet for a while and the current administration was far more cohesive and productive whilst having to make some tough decisions, made for the benefit of the residents of Babergh. These decisions had been taken by Cabinet as a whole not just by Councillor Ward.
59.12 Councillor Hurren stated that he would not be supporting the Motion as he felt it smacked of political opportunity, however he felt that things were being presented badly, which was creating a disconnect.
59.13 Councillor Hardacre stated that he would be supporting the Motion and although the pandemic had played a part in the issues, some of the issues raised were pre-pandemic. Despite Councillor Ward being praised as part of the debate for bringing the Council together, the Green Party had not been offered a seat on Cabinet even though they made up one eighth of the Council.
59.14 Councillor Ward disputed some of the comments made during the debate and stated that consultation had been undertaken and listened to for the issues at Belle Vue and parking.
59.15 Councillor Arthey stated that he did not agree with the Motion and he supported Councillor Ward. The last twenty months had presented huge challenges and Councillor Ward had risen to those challenges.
59.16 The Chairman advised Members that the 30 minutes set aside for the debate for this item had been reached and apologised to Councillor Busby for not being able to allow him to speak.
59.17 Councillor Owen, the Seconder of the Motion, stated that Councillor Ward had not been open and transparent with the Councillors on the backbenches and had let down residents in Sudbury, Hadleigh and the surrounding villages. Councillor Owen urged the Councillors who felt that they needed a change to support the Motion.
59.18 Councillor Cresswell agreed with Councillor Owen and that some things had not been done correctly and so many Sudbury residents had expressed that they were frustrated with what was going on in their town and this was the best way to make those views known.
59.19 The Motion was put to Members for voting.
By 20 votes against, 10 votes for and 2 abstentions.
It was RESOLVED:-
That the Motion was lost.