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At 7pm @BCPCouncil will hold its first full council meeting since February. During this meeting a vote of no confidence will be called in council leader @vikki4mdnp

📹 you can watch the meeting here:

I'm just going to run through a bit of the background before things get underway (this will prove very important later)
There have been 75 councillors since the death of Christchurch Independent Colin Bungey in April.

The council is run by a coalition led by Lib Dem Cllr Slade🔶.

The others groups are: ⚪️ Christchurch Independents
🟣 @Poole_People
🟢 Bmth Independent & Greens
🔴 Labour
The 'Unity Alliance' was formed following last year's elections in which a large number of members of the three preceding Conservative councils were not re-elected
Clearly a bad choice of link shortening website, let me try again
But the death of Cllr Bungey and the departures of @brooksnigel from the Christchurch Independents (…) and @CllrDanielButt and Julie Bagwell from Poole People (…) have left it without a majority
The largest single group is the Conservatives with 36 members and its leader @VentureDrew has criticised the Unity Alliance’s “cabinet of compromise” and its handling of the financial impacts of the coronavirus outbreak…
Discussions have been held between Cllr Mellor and Cllr Slade and the Christchurch Independents about forming a collaborative administration but the idea was rejected because it would have sidelined the smaller groups
This prompted the decision of @VentureDrew to bring forward the vote of no confidence. It will be put forward as a motion, seconded by his deputy @PhilBroadhead

This is what it will be:
Cllr Mellor has said an administration led by his group would be "more experienced" and better placed to see the council through the financial impacts of its coronavirus response…
The move has prompted A LOT of discussion and debate between both sides and has been roundly condemned by Unity Alliance members…
Central to their argument is the Conservatives “taking advantage” of the death of Cllr Bungey and the inability (due to coronavirus legislation) to hold a byelection for his replacement until next year, reducing their numbers by one - and that makes all the difference
Regardless, the key to success for either side will be winning the support of the five non-aligned councillors: Cllr Bagwell, @CllrDanielButt, @brooksnigel, @stevebartlett17 and Diana Butler
I’ve talked about the first three but for context on the other two: Cllr Bartlett is an independent and former Conservative member of the old Bournemouth council while Cllr Butler represents Ukip and was first elected last year
The votes of these five will be what determines which way things go, although the Conservatives are confident of gaining the support (two extra votes) they need
The vote will be a recorded one with the each councillor individually asked whether they support or oppose the motion
Given this is the first time the full council has met in the remote era it will be interesting to see how well this goes from a technological point of view. Particularly with voting likely to be so close, one councillor losing connection could be the difference
I gather this concern has meant the Christchurch Independent councillors are all joining the meeting from the Civic Offices in Christchurch
Should the vote succeed, the council's deputy leader - @Poole_People's Mark Howell - will become interim leader until an emergency meeting is held to appoint a new leader
And for those people who've not had the same desire as me to read through @BCPCouncil's constitution, here is the relevant section
When the emergency meeting takes place a vote will be held on a new leader. I gather this will be a secret ballot in which individual councillors' votes are not made public
But before all that there is still "ordinary" council issues to be considered. This will include councillors being asked for their final approval of the purchase of the Holes Bay power station site…
Anyway, hope this is helpful context and I will continue this thread once the meeting gets underway
Meeting now started. I don't envy the task of council chairman David Flagg in managing 75 councillors all joining in remotely
It will start with all the normal procedural matters including absences and any declarations of interest.
No one absent which is not unsurprising given the importance of tonight's meeting
Starting with a tribute to former Poole councillor Mike Fisher. Cllr Diana Butler praises the work of her friend, a dedicated @PoppyLegion supporter
Cllr Flagg now paying tribute to his fellow Christchurch Independent councillor Colin Bungey and former mayor of the town, a "man of principle" who "always did his best for Christchurch"
A minute's silence now for both former councillors
Cllr Flagg now acknowledging the death of George Floyd and the subsequent #BlackLivesMatterUK efforts
As has been the way since remote meetings were first started by @BCPCouncil, no public questions, statements or petitions are read out - instead councillors are asked to acknowledge they have read them and they are published online
Now we move onto the recommendations from the cabinet meeting held at the end of May and various committee (20-odd) meetings held since February. This is normally a straightforward process
Some discussion over planned constitutional changes, including no longer print out meeting minutes and to the requirements for a planning application to be called-in for discussion by the planning committee
Technical difficulties count: 1⃣

Meeting paused while Conservative councillor Ann Stribley's connection is fixed
And we're back... Cllr Stribley continuing the debate about the requirements for planning applications to be called-in
Planning committee chairman @CllrSimonBull speaking up in support of the changes being proposed
Cllr Stribley: "As a democrat, I'm quite happy to go along with the majority decision". The most subtle hint to the vote of no confidence later on
Next up Cllr Mark Howell on the plans to buy the Holes Bay power station site, although Cllr Stribley's discussion about her connection is still clearly audible in the background
He says the stalled plan put forward by the current owners is "unambitious" and says the council would produce a "vibrant" community in Hamworthy. Here's the background to this again:…
First appearance of the night for @George4Labour giving his "wholehearted" support to the scheme but says there must be a focus on social and affordable housing
Cllr Butler expresses concern about the cost and the extra borrowing the council would need to fund a development on the site
@vikki4mdnp acknowledges that there's "a risk" but says the council needs to play "a leading role" for any viable proposals to come forward
The scheme is approved with only Cllr Butler (abstaining) not supporting it
Now we move on to discussion about the Winter Gardens development and a proposal for the council to buy the site's public car park and 123 of the flats. Here's the background ahead of it being discussed by the cabinet last month…
Independent @stevebartlett17 raising concerns about the risk of the project. He says: "I do not believe we've addressed the market needs of the recession that we're about to go into" and says "now is not the right time" to progress it
@George4Labour says he will abstain because of the lack of any affordable or social housing within the development and due to similar concerns to those raised by Cllr Bartlett
Cllr Mike Brooke, who is a board member of @BmouthDevCo which has put forward the scheme, says "confidential" risk assessment work has been done
Former Bournemouth council cabinet member Mike Greene criticises the change to the scheme scaling down the initially proposed supermarket to a smaller convenience store
But @PooleNorth says this is more suitable for the town centre location
Cllr Stribley says the size of some of the flats (many are below living space guidelines) could lead to them becoming "the slums of the future"
Cllr Bartlett back again. He says it's "slightly absurd" that a risk assessment has not been published before a decision has to be made
Cabinet member for regeneration Mark Howell acknowledges the development would have risks but says it will become "far more profitable" in the future, says he would have liked to have seen affordable housing and that the supermarket change has been "dictated by market conditions"
@VentureDrew proposes that final approval be deferred until next month "because it's just not ready"
Meeting paused again so Cllr Flagg can "take some advice"
Cllr Howell says he would be happy for this decision to be deferred... And it is - more Winter Gardens content coming your way in the near future!
Meeting now adjourned, one more item up for discussion before the vote of no confidence motion is heard
Cllr Flagg back on the mic, says council officers will be monitoring councillors' connections closely to make sure they are able to take part in votes
Cllr Mike White puts forward a move to scrap secret ballots, says it's an "unusual practise", he's supported by @CcwMay
@PooleNorth says he "wonders whether this is only being brought forward because it reinforces the party whip". A non-secret vote would make it hard for any councillor defecting from the party line to do so
Interesting from Conservative Beverley Dunlop who says she opposes the move put forward by her group colleagues, says she has seen councillors "coerced" into voting and says the current system allows people to vote for the person they believe is right for the job
Her position is supported by Cllr Howell who says this would only apply in a limited number of roles anyway
One Conservative messages me to say the group is having a free vote on this proposal, as other Conservatives@JudesButt and @davekelsey6 backs Cllr Dunlop's position in opposing scrapping secret ballots
@stevebartlett17 says a secret vote does not prevent people being coerced and says all votes should be open
Conservative opinion on secret ballots very clearly split down the middle, debate over right to vote in secret vs public accountability. Universal support from any Unity Alliance cllr who has spoken so far
First recorded vote of the night on this: Motion to scrap secret ballots fails by 20 votes to 55
Now we move onto the vote of no confidence
Being put forward by @VentureDrew now. He praises the work of @vikki4mdnp but says she is "putting politics before the needs of the people we represent"
He says it is "my duty" to try and put together an administration "where no councillor is excluded"
First up to speak against the motion is cabinet member for tourism, Labour's @lewisjallison, who says "now is not the time" for a vote of no confidence and says Cllr Mellor's administration would exclude some of the smaller groups which make up the Unity Alliance
Now is cabinet member for adult social care @LesleyMDedman who says a Conservative administration was rejected in last year's elections by voters. She questions what experience Conservative councillors have in managing the response to a pandemic
Now we have Cllr Butler, whose vote could be key, criticises the lack of any representation from Conservatives on the cabinet and says she is "concerned" by "unanimous voting" of the cabinet and wants "greater diversity of opinion"
Now cabinet member for children @SandraehMoore who says the cabinet is diverse and "works together" to champion residents' needs. She adds: "Together we are representative of our entire community, this is a strength not a weakness"
Christchurch Independent Paul Hilliard who says all coalition members are "working together" under the leadership of @vikki4mdnp
@George4Labour: "The Unity Alliance has been brought together under the unique leadership of @vikki4mdnp" and says he's confident that more people are represented by it than would be by the Conservative group
Former Poole People councillor Julie Bagwell, one of the few independents, says: "For me, @vikki4mdnp has done an outstanding job" and says she will stand beside her "no matter what"
Next is Margaret Phipps, Christchurch Independent and cabinet member for planning, she says: "residents voted to get rid of the same old and to get change" and says the motion is "taking advantage" of the death of Colin Bungey
"I have experience of being a councillor at all levels, the whole concept of this motion is a disgrace and, if successful, will take us backwards," she adds
Conservative Mike Greene says "Because of the make-up of the administration, to maintain the coalition it must accept some of the genuinely held but non-mainstream positions" of some members. He says too much focus has been put on carbon reduction at the sacrifice of businesses
He praises @vikki4mdnp for her leadership and being a "genuinely good person" but adds: "This can't be a personality contest"
Lib Dem @mikefcox questions whether Conservatives are opposed to the ideas of younger councillors, reflecting the views of younger people and says they are representing "people in need" and "not the needs of big businesses"
Independent @brooksnigel up now, "One of the requisites of having a position is having integrity," he says. "This is truly opportunistic it's nothing to do with good governance and good politics"
Conservative deputy leader @PhilBroadhead now, says without a majority the Unity Alliance "can no longer offer that confidence"
Cabinet member for housing @CllrKWilson hits out at the criticism of the cabinet's experience. "Experience is relative," he says. "My experience is unique to the council and the cabinet". He says he has "a different type of experience"
Lib Dem Millie Earl says: "Nothing would ever change if we were only judged on our experience rather than our passion". She adds: "What I see is collaboration with a common aim for delivering for the residents of BCP" and says the cabinet has "proven itself"
@Poole_People's Peter Miles says the vote of no confidence is "opportunistic" and says voters have already rejected the 'City by the Sea' vision of previous Conservative administrations
Lib Dem @CouncillorToby says @vikki4mdnp has "transcended party lines" and says the Conservatives are "money first and people second" and should be happy to work, as the opposition, in cooperation with the Unity Alliance
Green @_CJR_ says no one has the experience of dealing with a pandemic and says the vote is "a power grab" and says he feels sorry for Conservative councillors who disagree with the motion "but are whipped to vote for it"
Cabinet member for environment @CllrFizz says "dealing with the environmental crisis is crucial" to economic development and says her experience as a GP was what made her want to step into politics despite not having "traditional political experience"
Technical difficulties count: 2⃣

Meeting adjourned to reconnect Cllr Julie Bagwell
Back up and running with cabinet member for regeneration Mark Howell. He says: "My cabinet colleagues and I have dedicated ourselves to our roles and the benefits are starting to show, perhaps that is why the vote of confidence was called now"
Conservative @cllrDove talking now. She says she was "compelled to speak" in defence of her group. Says she had a successful legal challenge against the council which was focused on "money rather than its statutory requirements" by not properly supporting a child with SEND
She also refers to the lack of non-white councillors in the Unity Alliance and their understanding of diversity issues
Cabinet member for finance @cllrdavidbrown next up. He says the council's budget was "financially prudent" and that this has put it into a position to cope with the financial effects of the council's response to coronavirus and a change in administration would be "so damaging"
Next is Lib Dem @CllrMaidment: "Our diversity in the alliance is a strength, young people feel represented more than ever". She says @vikki4mdnp's leadership has been "inspirational"
Now we have @vikki4mdnp who accuses the Conservatives of a "really self-indulgent power play" and criticises the lack of comments from its councillors. She says the council is providing "transformational leadership" and says she was wrong to oppose the formation of @BCPCouncil
"It's plain wrong to say we won't work with the Conservatives," she says, referring to the creation of groups and committee positions for opposition councillors, and says "we will maintain an open door approach"
"The last thing we need is months of turmoil while a new administration finds its feet", she adds
Conservative @CcwMay next to speak. She says many of the case studies brought up during the meeting were initiatives started by preceding Conservative councils. "Perhaps they weren't such bad days after all," she adds and says the UA is "unwilling" to work with them
We're now hearing from Lib Dem @mikebrooke3. He says @VentureDrew will already be working with the Unity Alliance on its work to complete the merger of the three previous councils. "One can only conclude that bringing this motion forward is a misguided attempt to grab power"
Conservative Ann Stribley says @vikki4mdnp "flatly refused" to work with the Conservatives. "The vote of no confidence has nothing to do with the death of Colin Bungey, it has to do with the very real concerns of all my group and certain other members of the council," she says
Lib Dem @PooleNorth says there's "more openness and opportunity for people to get involved" than in any council he has worked in. He also says the discussion is going "round and round in circles" and calls for the vote to be taken
Motion being summed up by @VentureDrew. "This is a time for unity," he says. He says a minority administration "is not what we need at this time". He says the Unity Alliance does not go far enough and is an "anti-Conservative alliance"
Vote time. Each councillor will be asked for their vote on the motion
Awful audio feedback at the moment. Mute your mics peeps
One of the Lib Dems, Mark Robson, appears to have voted for the vote of no confidence... Chief exec Graham Farrant trying to clarify
At the moment I have it down as 38 votes for the vote of no confidence and 36 against. If Mark Robson changes his vote it's 37-37 by my maths. Cllr Diana Butler abstained
And Mark Robson has now clarified he voted against the vote of no confidence which means it is 37-37
Just waiting for council officers to do their own tally
This is all not helped by the feedback and background talking
CONFIRMED: 37 votes for the vote of no confidence. 37 against. We go to a casting vote from Christchurch Independent chairman David Flagg who votes against again
Cllr Flagg dedicated his casting vote to Colin Bungey as the motion fails
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