Waltham Forest councillors have recommended that a new model of governance for the borough be adopted called the ‘Strong Leader model, despite the Government proposal being described as “the least worst option” by Liberal Democrat leader Cllr John Macklin.
Councillors have been told that they have to choose between a ‘Strong Leader’ model, or a directly elected mayor, such as that seen in neighbouring Newham. Lib Dem councillors hit out at both proposals in a heated debate at the latest Full Council meeting, claiming that neither option was good for local decision making as they both concentrated power in the hands of fewer and fewer individuals.
Cllr Macklin commented in the meeting that the Lib Dems would reluctantly support the ‘Strong Leader’ model, as it was the one that allowed a Council leader to most easily share power and give responsibility for the future of the borough to all councillors and residents.
Hale End and Highams Park councillor Jane Morgan has led Lib Dem opposition to the Government proposals, claiming that the plan represented “another example of the way in which local democracy is being centralised and local power being shrunk”. Read her full statement on the reforms here.