While Labour remains the biggest opposition party on Cherwell and is the largest party in Banbury, the ‘Progressive Oxfordshire’ group is preparing to take up the challenge of being the ‘new official opposition’ at district level.
The change comes about as a result of recent election successes for the Greens, Liberal Democrats and Independents in Cherwell, The Progressive Oxfordshire Group now has 11 members – seven Lib Dems, two Greens and two Independents.
“This gives the group one more seat than the Labour Group making us the official opposition. Times are a-changing,” said the group’s deputy leader, Cllr Ian Middleton (Green).
The Progressive Oxfordshire Group now consists of Katherine Tyson - Lib Dem (Group Leader); Dorothy Walker – Lib Dem; Jean Conway – Lib Dem; Gemma Coton – Lib Dem; David Hingley – Lib Dem; Angus Patrick – Lib Dem; Chris Pruden – Lib Dem; John Broad – Independent; Nick Cotter – Independent; Fiona Mawson – Green and Ian Middleton – Green (Deputy Group Leader).
Cllr Sean Woodcock (Labour) said: “We are happy at increasing the size of our group giving us a greater influence. Our priorities for Cherwell have not changed and we will continue to push for them as the second largest party on the council.
"We have ten wards, gaining one, next to seven LDs, two Greens and four Independents – only two of whom are in Progressive Oxfordshire. So second largest party is Labour.
“Labour are now the largest party in Banbury. 49 per cent of votes this year went to Labour, 37 per cent to the Conservatives, ten per cent Lib Dem and three per cent Green. We also hold ten out of 15 district seats across the town. The Tory majority is two, they lost six seats.”
The Conservatives have lost control of West Oxfordshire District Council for the first time in 22 years. Cllr Ian Middleton has been chosen as the leader of the Greens on Oxfordshire County Council, also makes him deputy leader of the Green/Libdem group on the authority.