LET’S just recap: 22 Conservative, 22 Labour, 2 Independents and 1 BNP.
Is it the proverbial rock and a hard place?
To many, Terry Hipsey was the reason why Thurrock Council is in a parlous state. To some at Westminster, his stewardship was threatening the Tory hopes of capturing the two constituencies.
The question is: Has Terry’s defection solved any problems? New leader, Garry Hague must be given time to bed-in. But hopes are high that he has the people skills and the regeneration agenda at his fingertips which will allow a more cohesive Council in the Chamber and in the corridors at Civic Offices.
However, there is the problem of Ms Colgate. It is her vote which saved the Tories a few weeks ago. There are many Tories that would rather be in opposition than have a regime morally compromised by the pact/treaty/unholy alliance with the BNP.
With the European elections coming up, the BNP are expected to make mighty inroads on June 4th. Leader of the House, Harriet Harman MP has voiced her concerns about the number of votes they could gain.
The last thing the Tories need is the validation that the situation in Thurrock Council gives them.
This is where the two Independent Councillors, East Tilbury’s John Purkiss and Barry Palmer need to step up to the mark. Some may say that abstaining may let fascism in through the back door. Others say that the fence they sit on should have enough spikes to prick their collective conscience.
The other problem at the moment is that unlike many of her dysfunctional and sinister colleagues, Emma Colgate has come across to many in the chamber as reasonable and articulate.
There is a belief that she is less right-wing than many of the Tories.
There is precedent in other political chambers for a pact, written, verbal or otherwise to lead to a position of power for the minority party. In the Scottish Parliament in 2003, Labour offered the Lib Dems the position of Deputy First Minister.
It would surely be political suicide for the Tories to follow suit?
The first task for the Tories is to elect a Deputy Leader. YourThurrock understands that there are several candidates. That can be viewed in several ways. It could be that there are many keen ambitious Councillors or that this is a manifestation of the in-fighting that has blighted the party.
Tomorrow we will look at the candidates and assess their chances.