Neil Laurenson warns Labour and Tories there will be "a price to pay" for his support

Worcester News: Worcester City Council: latest on the talks over which party is in control Worcester City Council: latest on the talks over which party is in control

THE lone Green Councillor with the future of Worcester City Council in his hands has issued a warning to both Labour and the Tories – saying there would be “a price to pay” for his support.

Cllr Neil Laurenson has upped the ante as the city’s period of limbo stretches into its fifth day today – and insists he will take as long as he needs to make his mind up.

Your Worcester News can reveal the latest developments after several days of tense discussions.

They include:

- Worcester Labour Party and the opposition Conservatives had private talks last Friday to see what, if any, common ground was between them, but they went nowhere

- The city’s lone Lib Dem, Councillor Liz Smith, says she is “not about to jump ship” after she backed Labour last year, and has urged Cllr Laurenson to make his mind up either way

- Worcester Green Party was locked in internal talks last night, where a ‘wish list’ of demands was being firmed up to show to Labour and the Conservatives

- The Tories spoke to both Cllr Laurenson and Cllr Smith over the weekend, and still believe they can strike a deal to wrestle back control

The talks follow Thursday’s local election results which left the city council hung, and Labour on 16 councillors, with 17 Tory, one Lib Dem and one Green.

Cllr Laurenson said: “The two main parties have the option of sharing power if they want to.

“They have 33 out of the 35 seats between them, they don’t have to consult me.

“However if (either of) the groups wanted to try to gain full control of the council and wanted my support, there would be a price to pay – and that would be to take on board a number of Green policies.”

His hard line comes as Cllr Smith admitted “the cards are in Neil’s hands” given her own stance.

“A lot depends on what Neil does - in a conventional sense I am not about to jump ship,” she said.

“I felt last year that Labour would tackle the city’s financial situation and it’s done a good job.

“But it depends on what he comes up with. If his proposals cost an arm and a leg I wouldn’t necessarily be on board with that.”

Labour Councillor Adrian Gregson, city council leader, said: “Uncertainty is not good for the organisation, but the decision has got to be the right one.”

Worcester’s Conservatives are meeting tonight, and group leader Cllr Simon Geraghty said he is still aiming to do a deal.

“We will explore all the options which benefit the people of Worcester - but it could be some days before it’s entirely clear,” he said.

Comments (7)

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11:34am Tue 27 May 14

newike says...

With power comes responsibility. Mr Laurenson is in a very strong position and perhaps now is the time to forget party politics and to think how he could help this fine city and its citizens. I wonder how he views the local council trying to sell off public services fits in with benefiting local people , or how raising car park prices sells our beautiful city to tourists ? The Green Party has some excellent policies for change but so many are hugely expensive. Many of the changes envisaged in their policy booklet would cost enormous sums, so despite acknowledging that in a perfect world the Greens have so much to offer , in the real world and in Worcester it is small sensible changes that might win the day and gain the support of people in the city.
With power comes responsibility. Mr Laurenson is in a very strong position and perhaps now is the time to forget party politics and to think how he could help this fine city and its citizens. I wonder how he views the local council trying to sell off public services fits in with benefiting local people , or how raising car park prices sells our beautiful city to tourists ? The Green Party has some excellent policies for change but so many are hugely expensive. Many of the changes envisaged in their policy booklet would cost enormous sums, so despite acknowledging that in a perfect world the Greens have so much to offer , in the real world and in Worcester it is small sensible changes that might win the day and gain the support of people in the city. newike
  • Score: 8

1:48pm Tue 27 May 14

New Kid on the Block says...

If his demands are too expensive Mr Laurenson will find that the people of Worcester remember this as soon as he faces the ballot box. He will be voted out and consigned to the history books.
So remember this Mr Laurenson, before you make demands cost them properly. We who are expected to pay will be watching. Sensible demands will be supported. Things that might be nice but will cost an arm and a leg will cost you your political career.
If his demands are too expensive Mr Laurenson will find that the people of Worcester remember this as soon as he faces the ballot box. He will be voted out and consigned to the history books. So remember this Mr Laurenson, before you make demands cost them properly. We who are expected to pay will be watching. Sensible demands will be supported. Things that might be nice but will cost an arm and a leg will cost you your political career. New Kid on the Block
  • Score: 8

2:27pm Tue 27 May 14

Shropshirelad says...

Councillor Liz Smith, Lib Dems lets us all know where she, like her incompetent lot in Westminster on a national basis, stands with regard to the local economy, she said,

“I felt last year that Labour would tackle the city’s financial situation and it’s done a good job".

Who would agree with her, a good job indeed. The first thing that the Labour Council did was to raise the Council Tax to the maximum permitted without a local referendum, car parking charges up and their grasping minds already working overtime to think where next they can hit us. Mr. Laurenson is no different, indeed, again if he takes his brief from Green Party national officers and party policy he is a ...n site worse for being uneconomical with any finance he can get his hands on. I hold no brief for any of this unsavoury lot, LibLabCon, Greens or whoever but one thing is certain, as a pensioner, I do have a brief for the money in my pocket and I wouldn't give the time of day to any party other than the Tories on the City Council in the particular circumstances in which they find themselves. Also remember this readers, Laurenson also was a party to the Council Tax going up.
Councillor Liz Smith, Lib Dems lets us all know where she, like her incompetent lot in Westminster on a national basis, stands with regard to the local economy, she said, “I felt last year that Labour would tackle the city’s financial situation and it’s done a good job". Who would agree with her, a good job indeed. The first thing that the Labour Council did was to raise the Council Tax to the maximum permitted without a local referendum, car parking charges up and their grasping minds already working overtime to think where next they can hit us. Mr. Laurenson is no different, indeed, again if he takes his brief from Green Party national officers and party policy he is a ...n site worse for being uneconomical with any finance he can get his hands on. I hold no brief for any of this unsavoury lot, LibLabCon, Greens or whoever but one thing is certain, as a pensioner, I do have a brief for the money in my pocket and I wouldn't give the time of day to any party other than the Tories on the City Council in the particular circumstances in which they find themselves. Also remember this readers, Laurenson also was a party to the Council Tax going up. Shropshirelad
  • Score: -4

4:05pm Tue 27 May 14

green49 says...

Shropshirelad you really do need to read up and see what damage the CONservatives are doing not only to Worcester but all over the country, they blame everyone else when things are wrong, This evil government have cut everything almost mainly to the most vunerable, they actually did put a charge on council tax, they have in Worcester just cut the entire budget for some of the most needy charities, i could go on but theres no point when you have someone who hasnt a clue.
Shropshirelad you really do need to read up and see what damage the CONservatives are doing not only to Worcester but all over the country, they blame everyone else when things are wrong, This evil government have cut everything almost mainly to the most vunerable, they actually did put a charge on council tax, they have in Worcester just cut the entire budget for some of the most needy charities, i could go on but theres no point when you have someone who hasnt a clue. green49
  • Score: -2

4:49pm Tue 27 May 14

Paul Griffiths says...

@Shropshirelad

You seem unaware that the Conservative-control
led County Council also raised Council Tax, as you put it, "to the maximum permitted without a local referendum".
@Shropshirelad You seem unaware that the Conservative-control led County Council also raised Council Tax, as you put it, "to the maximum permitted without a local referendum". Paul Griffiths
  • Score: 3

5:05pm Tue 27 May 14

Shropshirelad says...

Yes, just what we have come to expect, intelligent replies from two of the most profligate parties that exist here, one a Green, the other a Lib Dem. Perhaps when I have the time and the editor gives me the space, I could say a great deal more on the Greens. Just for the record, I would never vote Tory but given the choice we have here and when it comes to personal finance, I would rather them in the Guildhall than any of the others but typical Greens, we as taxpayers must contribute to charities whether we wish to or not - but that's par for the course with the Greens, never mind the principle of trying to cut back public spending to undo the damage done by Labour.
Yes, just what we have come to expect, intelligent replies from two of the most profligate parties that exist here, one a Green, the other a Lib Dem. Perhaps when I have the time and the editor gives me the space, I could say a great deal more on the Greens. Just for the record, I would never vote Tory but given the choice we have here and when it comes to personal finance, I would rather them in the Guildhall than any of the others but typical Greens, we as taxpayers must contribute to charities whether we wish to or not - but that's par for the course with the Greens, never mind the principle of trying to cut back public spending to undo the damage done by Labour. Shropshirelad
  • Score: 0

11:16pm Tue 27 May 14

3thinker says...

Here's a more radical solution for the Greens to protect local services and best serving local electors interests. Agree to a coalition with whichever party agrees to save £ millions by encouraging the establishment of a Unitary Authority for the whole of Worcestershire. This single step would save £ millions each year which could help protect the vital services our politicians all say they want to protect.
Here's a more radical solution for the Greens to protect local services and best serving local electors interests. Agree to a coalition with whichever party agrees to save £ millions by encouraging the establishment of a Unitary Authority for the whole of Worcestershire. This single step would save £ millions each year which could help protect the vital services our politicians all say they want to protect. 3thinker
  • Score: -2

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