Councillor Lesley Whybrow, leader of the Green group, will become a member of the council’s cabinet, where key decisions are made. She will be free to oppose or support these decisions and will be fully involved in discussions. This is not a coalition.
Six Green Party Councillors were elected last May, representing Hythe, Hythe Rural and Cheriton. The Conservatives lost control of the council but formed an administration with the backing of two UKIP councillors and an independent. Labour and the LibDems, also successful at the local elections, have been invited to join the Cabinet too.
As a full member of cabinet with an environment portfolio, Councillor Whybrow will oversee the climate change and air quality agenda and chair the cross-party Climate & Ecological Emergency Working Group, established to follow-up on the declaration of a climate and ecological emergency last July, when a Green Party motion was passed unanimously.
The move also means that Hythe will now have one of the councillors it elected last year representing its interests in cabinet.
Councillor Whybrow said: “I welcome this radical move to represent the diverse range of opinions on the council and to work collaboratively for the good of our local community. This presents us with a marvellous opportunity to turn the consensus within council on the need for action to tackle climate change into practical steps, directly and by providing leadership on the issue outside of the council itself.
“The thousands who voted for the Green Party last May can rest assured that I will vote against and speak out on those things I disagree with. Power-sharing provides our best opportunity to affect the way in which decisions are taken in the district and to ensure that the Green voice is listened to, as well as giving all the residents of Hythe a bigger say in local politics.”
The power-sharing arrangement will last until Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s annual general meeting in May next year, when it may be renewed or come to an end if the cabinet is replaced by a new system of committee government, which Shepway Green Party supports.