Sheffield Labour have today written to the party membership updating them about the on-going Council negotiations, stating the following:
- Labour wants to find a deal that works in the interests of Sheffield – proving certainty and avoiding political deadlock.
- The fairest way forward is a politically proportionate power-sharing arrangement, and talks are on-going with the Liberal Democrats and Green Party.
- It has also been made clear that Labour want to move to the Committee System as soon as possible
Letter to Labour Party Members
Following the local elections last week, no one political party at Sheffield City Council has an outright majority.
Labour won 41 out of 84 councillors. This is two short of a majority.
There were some disappointing results, including the loss of former council leader Bob Johnson in Hillsborough. However there were also positives – our vote share across the city went up by over 5%, with the Liberal Democrat and Green vote both going down. Moreover in many seats we came tantalisingly close – losing Beighton by 44 votes, Beauchief & Greenhill by 38, and East Ecclesfield by just 20 votes.
We believe that Sheffield’s interests must always come ahead of party politics, and as largest the political grouping on the council is incumbent on us to find a way forward.
It is essential that as the city comes out of the pandemic, and continues to rebuild, that the council is not bogged down by political deadlock. Fundamentally we need to find a solution which puts Sheffield first and find a way of councillors pulling together for the benefit of the city.
As such we have entered negotiations with the Liberal Democrats and Green Party to find a way forward. The sole Tory councillor will not be involved in any of these conversations.
Why are we commenting now?
Negotiations are still on-going, but there has been a lot of interest in the press and on social media with Green and Liberal Democrat councillors commenting on negotiations.
In the interests of transparency, we want to let you know what some of our principles are within these talks:
Moving to the Committee System now
As the council is under no-overall control this presents an ideal opportunity for trialling a new way of working. We believe that fairest way forward is a politically proportionate committee model.
Sheffield’s electorate has opted for a new Committee System of governance and whilst such a system does not need to be implemented until May 2022 – we believe a politically proportionate committee model should be piloted.
Political proportionality across everything
Crucially we want all committees to be politically proportionate as well as the Council Executive (previous Cabinet). This is the fairest way forward.
It is essential the council is not bogged down by political deadlock. We need to find a consensual way forward, but whatever is agreed it must be ensured that the council is able to carry out its important business.
Quite simply, this is too important to leave to ‘handshake agreements’, Sheffield citizens must know publicly about whatever agreement is reached. We must be transparent.
We won’t walk away from talks
We need to put Sheffield first, and we will do everything we can to ensure that the council can move forward and get things done. We have made an offer of political proportionality for the Cabinet/Executive and a move to the Committee system as soon as possible, but will not comment further on any policy options as talks are on-going.
Thank you to the Lib Dems and Greens
We want to thank opposition councillors for their efforts over the last week as negotiations continue.
We will keep Labour Party Members updated on developments.
Councillor Terry Fox, Labour Leader of Sheffield City Council
Councillor Julie Grocutt, Labour Deputy Leader of Sheffield City Council