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Lucy Nethsingha urges Peterborough voters ‘to work out how not to have a Conservative’ elected in May

Cambridgeshire County Council leader’s advice to Peterborough voters

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The leader of Cambridgeshire County Council urged voters in Peterborough “to try and work out how to not have a Conservative” in the May local elections.  Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, a Liberal Democrat, branded the Conservative government “not only wrong but also deeply incompetent”.

She said: “Having a change of government, getting rid of the Conservatives at national government level would be completely wonderful.

“I mean, it has been the most extraordinary, frustrating three years in terms of dealing with national government, because you just never feel as if there’s any sensible direction of travel, there’s no long-term thinking whatsoever.

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“It’s just been that they’ve been not only wrong but also deeply incompetent and I am just really hoping that a different government would at least have a slightly more long-term perspective than this one has.”

Council leader Cllr Lucy Nethsingha pointed out that the Making Connections consultation run by the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership had received more than 24,000 responses, which were both lengthy and detailed.

Lucy Nethsingha urges Peterborough voters ‘to work out how not to have a Conservative’ elected in May

Although Cllr Nethsingha and other Cambridgeshire county councillors will not face re-election this May, voters in Peterborough are set to go to the polls next month to re-elect one third of Peterborough City Council.

Currently, no party has overall control of Peterborough City Council, but the Conservatives remain the largest single grouping with 23 seats, and Labour the second largest with 14. 

She said: “Peterborough is currently in no overall control following the defection of a large number of Conservative councillors over the course of this year, and they have very important elections in May.

“In Peterborough, I would certainly be encouraging anybody who wants to not have a Conservative councillor to be looking carefully at how many leaflets they get through the door and thinking about who is fighting hard in their patch, because it will probably make a difference there.

“It does actually matter who you elect for your local council. It makes a difference to the quality of your council services.

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“And my perception of Conservatives in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is that they’re much more interested in reducing the capacity of local authorities.

“I would suggest that actually if you want to have an authority which is focused on making sure that the services are there for the people who are the most vulnerable when they need them, you probably want to try and work out how to not have a Conservative.”

Ahead of these crucial local elections, Cllr Nethsingha spoke to cross-party campaign group Compass about her experience of working as part of a coalition on Cambridgeshire County Council, and her hopes for the future. Watch the whole interview here.

After the Conservatives lost control of Cambridgeshire County Council in 2021, Labour, Liberal Democrats and independents came together in a ‘rainbow coalition’ capable of narrowly outvoting the Conservatives.

Since then, the coalition has increased its majority after the Liberal Democrats won a mid-term by-election and a Tory councillor defected to the Liberal Democrats.

Lucy Nethsingha urges Peterborough voters ‘to work out how not to have a Conservative’ elected in May

Lucy Nethsingha urges Peterborough voters ‘to work out how not to have a Conservative’ elected in May

She said working as part of a coalition helped them to achieve things they wouldn’t have been able to with a single party grouping.

She said: “We know that child poverty is a huge and rising problem across the whole country… so I am really pleased that one of the key priorities from the joint administration, from when we were first setting up our agreement between the parties, was on free school meals.”

She added that working with the Labour group encouraged the coalition to pay not just council staff the real living wage, but to “make sure we were paying as many of our contracted staff the real living wage as well”.

 

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