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Conservative cabinet member sacked after opposing failed council tax rise in Cornwall

By WMN_PGoodwin  |  Posted: February 28, 2013

Comments (8)

Cornwall Council has been plunged intofurther chaos after one senior cabinet member swapped ruling coalition parties and another was sacked by leader Jim Currie.

Stephen Rushworth, the portfolio holder for the economy and regeneration, says he was hounded out of the executive by the Independent group because he refused to back a plan to raise council tax, which eventually went unsupported by the full council.

Mr Rushworth, a councillor in Padstowand the only cabinet member to oppose the failed plan to raise council tax, claims the Independents are now in control at the council, despite being the third party.

Conservative group leader Fiona Ferguson, who resigned from the cabinet this year in opposition to the use of "lie detector" tests for residents has accused Mr Currie of "weakness" and said the Independents are now "running the show".

Mrs Ferguson said she no longer considers Mr Currie, who was proposed by the opposition Liberal Democrats after previous leader Alec Robertson was sacked, to be a Conservative, claiming he has effectively become an Independent leader.

Earlier in the day the cabinet member for health Carolyn Rule was said to have left the Conservative group to join the Independents, along with fellow cabinet member and Conservative Lance Kennedy.

Mr Currie denied he was losing a grip onthe authority, accusing Mr Rushworth of having a "beef".

"He is not compatible with the rest of the cabinet, it is as simple as that," he added.

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  • Newquay_Loyal  |  March 01 2013, 3:35PM

    Typical Tory Bully boys (and girls it seems), rotten from the top down. They cannot be trusted to act alone or with the Lap Dog party. Cornwall is a true free spirit, if you tread on the people of Cornwall, they will only come at you in bigger numbers. Vote for your local Indy councillor, you know them, they know you, they are prepared to vote with a conscious and in accordance with the political paymasters party lines.

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  • bobb743  |  March 01 2013, 11:46AM

    Steve Rushworth is probably one of very few people on the council who cares about his constituants,not like the majority who are only there for their own benefit. Good on him for sticking to his principals and not bowing to the dictators.He will definitely get my vote,lets see how many of the others will still be there come the elections.

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  • PaddyTrembath  |  March 01 2013, 10:07AM

    gibbo1949, as cornishbill points out Cornwall has far fewer councillors than most similar administrative districts in the UK. For example, in Devon there are 399* councilors (County and District) doing the same job as the 123 in Cornwall. Population wise, that works out to 1 councilor to every 2,757*, in Cornwall it's 1 to every 4.065*. So, who's got too many Councillors, and who has too few, or is there a place that has just the right number? *figures are based on a very quick search on Google, so could be slightly out.

  • Anyone  |  March 01 2013, 9:55AM

    @gibbo1949, lets try and dispel the myth that Cornwall Council has too many councillors., Firstly Devon, Dorset and Somerset have county councillors and district councillors, when you add them up equates to far more than 123. There are no district councillors in Cornwall anymore and no county council. Cornwall is a unitary authority. So the allowances paid to our unitary authorities councillors will be a lot less all told than paid to the other 3 counties district and county councillors. It is all a matter of perspective really. Before Cornwall became a unitary authority, some councillors were picking up 2 lots of allowances, for doing probably a worse job that they are doing now, you cannot in reality serve two master's. Also remember if we had less councillors there would be even more scope for the officers to deceive councillors even more, and less time for scrutiny by councillors.. Good on Stephen Rushworth for putting Cornwall before his allegiance to the cabinet (stupid system), and well done to the other two councillors for seeing sense. Looks very much as if Currie is having as much trouble as his predecessor, ah well the joys of being in the hot seat.

  • WilliamRees  |  March 01 2013, 9:49AM

    Fiona Fergusons ongoing backstabbing of her own party Council Leaders continues. First Alec Robertson and now Jim Currie . The final outcome is she is splitting her own party. Long term it will damage her friend Truro MP Sarah Newtons chances at the next election.

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  • jadedoldie  |  March 01 2013, 9:20AM

    Stephen Rushworth is a dependable, hardworking councillor, always ready to fight the corner of people who need help. Possibly, his inclination to defend the people of this county against the wishes of a favoured few within the cabinet is what Currie perceives as not being compatible!

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  • gibbo1949  |  March 01 2013, 8:18AM

    bazzerpage is right sack all 123 of them. Why do we need so many other counties have 123 Councillor in Cornwall where Devon 62, Dorset 45, Somerset 58. Could make a big saving in the budget MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT IN MAY

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  • bazzerpage  |  February 28 2013, 10:27PM

    Sack em all.... I doubt they would be missed!

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