Liberal Democrats battle Labour for leader of Sheffield Council
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Currently, the council consists of 39 Labour seats, 29 Liberal Democrat seats, 14 Green seats as well as one Conservative and one independent. But none have enough to take control meaning the parties need to agree on a leader and a power sharing arrangement.
Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, long-time leader of the Lib Dems, will put himself forward for the top role in the annual general meeting (AGM) today.
He will be up against Coun Tom Hunt who was this week selected to be Labour’s leader following what one senior party source called a “purge” ordered by Labour HQ. The national party also put the local group into special measures and set up a campaign improvement board following a series of failures including the damning findings of the street tree inquiry.
In total, 17 Labour members voted for Coun Hunt, 11 voted for Coun Jayne Dunn and 11 abstained. Some were rumoured to be considering resigning at the AGM in protest of Labour HQ, according to senior council members.
Coun Mohammed said the Lib Dems were promising cost of living support, taking any future highways schemes through local area committees with proper consultation and boosting investment and supporting businesses.
The Green Party called on all parties to work together in the spirit of cooperation.
Coun Douglas Johnson, leader of the Greens, said they want to see a leader from one party and two co-deputy leaders from the other two main groups.
He said “This would create a balanced leadership team to work together, providing direction to the council on the important issues facing the city.
“Greens also want to see leaders come together on a weekly basis to agree how to address strategic issues affecting the city. This would reflect the wishes of the voters of Sheffield who did not provide any party with an outright majority.
“This represents a further move away from the old ‘strong leader’ model that was so decisively rejected by the electorate in the governance referendum in 2021.
“Given the new Labour leader was not even elected by a majority of his own council group then he clearly does not have a strong mandate to lead the council on his own. For the stability of the council, it is important that party leaders work together to provide the certainty that local people and council officers need to give them a new sense of confidence in Sheffield Council.”