Sheffield Liberal Democrats open to coalition with Green Party

Sheffield Liberal Democrats have said they are open to forming a coalition with the Green Party to take joint control of Sheffield Council.

Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 5:44 pm

The council was left in no overall control for a second consecutive year following the local elections last week which saw several seats change hands but no winner taking it all.

Politicians are now in the process of deciding who will team up to take the reins for the year and have until the council’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, May 18 to make a decision.

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Sheffield Liberal Democrats outside the English Institute of Sport Sheffield following the local elections in 2021.

This past year saw Labour and the Green Party working as a co-operative executive, which councillor Douglas Johnson, leader of Sheffield Green Party, said has worked fine.

Ahead of this year’s discussions Coun Johnson said: “All options are open, it’s about doing what’s best for the city. We can work with anyone and we proved that because of course last year we formed a co-operative with Labour, the Lib Dems didn’t want to be part of that at that time but it’s important to remember that we negotiated that they could step into that at any time.

“The arrangement with Labour didn’t fall apart over the course of the year so we held together a functioning administration even though we have often had disagreements with Labour and we certainly didn’t always vote with them. So it shows you can work with people you disagree with that’s good because it shows there is lots of scope for this year onward.”

When asked what the likely outcome of discussion would be this year, Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said he believed the Greens had a choice to make – either siding with Labour again or partnering with the Liberal Democrats.

Councillors Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of Sheffield Liberal Democrats, with Joe Otten, candidate for the South Yorkshire Combined Authority mayor.

He said: “I believe the Greens have a choice to make. Our view, and I’ve been honest with councillor Johnson, is that the Greens need to decide what they want and if they want to talk to us they can do and if they want to talk to Labour they can do. They are the smallest of the three parties with groups on the council so they have to decide what they want.

“With the change in the way the council will be run, although committees will make most of the decisions going forward, the leader of the council still has an important role to play including both being the council’s main spokesperson and the chair of the committee responsible for resources and budget. That will be where a lot of power will be held, you can ask for whatever you want but until the resources committee allocates it it’s not going to happen.

“In any negotiation we will want to put policy priorities before party politics. We want to secure environmental measures to tackle the climate crisis, put real power in the hands of local people and do everything we can to tackle the council’s huge budget deficit.

“The Liberal Democrats believe the people of Sheffield deserve better.”