Concerns have been raised about the possibility that local council elections due for May next year will be cancelled, as negotiations for the ‘super council’ continue.
The widely-circulating rumour is that if Conservative-controlled Nottinghamshire County Council progresses with its plan to scrap all district councils, this would mean May’s county council election would not be held as the consultation for the super council would be ongoing.
This is yet to be confirmed by the Government, however, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government did not deny it when asked.
When asked about the potential delay, Nottinghamshire County Council replied: “No comment”.
A letter sent by the Nottinghamshire Branch of the Society of Local Council Clerks stated: “It is understood that the county council elections scheduled for next May are deferred for one year in order for unitary proposals (super council) to be drawn up and submitted to the Government.”
The leader of Leicestershire County Council – which is also pursuing a super council – has said elections there next year would also be postponed by a year.
Labour leader Councillor Alan Rhodes, who represents Worksop North, said: “In my opinion, it would be hugely undemocratic to an unpopular Government to cancel an upcoming election in this country.
“If the Conservatives aren’t running scared of an election next year they will welcome the opportunity (of an election) in much the same way we will.”
Meanwhile Jason Zadrozny, leader of the Ashfield Independents – the third-largest group on the county council – said it was ‘common knowledge’ the election would be postponed, and that this was ‘North Korean-style politics
Councillor Zadrozny, who is also vice-chairman of the National District Council’s Network said, “It’s common knowledge that any county which moves towards unitary status will have to cancel the county council elections in 2021.
“This is bad for democracy, bad for transparency and quite frankly lets the Conservatives off the hook.
“Everybody knows that the Conservatives are running scared ahead of next year’s County Elections.
“It appears that they have a simple solution: cancel them. It’s a move that Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea would be proud of.
“In Ashfield, residents value the chance to give their verdict in local elections. At the last County Council elections in 2017 – the Ashfield Independents performed particularly well – winning all 6 seats we went for.