As you would expect, the opposition in Cambridgeshire have sought to misinform and distract attention away from my real reasons for standing down as Leader. It is that sort of behaviour that, after all, is the root cause of my decision.
1. I am standing down because I don't believe committees work. That is not true. Yes I believe that Cabinet systems are less bureaucratic and lead to better decision making. But it is not true that there is only one system of cabinet - there are many - some of which engage opposition and make them feel involved. Conservatives offered a complete review of Governance last May - taking a view that the whole Council took a "what is best for Cambridgeshire" approach rather than leaping to a single conclusion within one month of an election with 39 brand new Councillors. Unfortunately, a more blinkered approach was forced upon us.
I do believe committees "can" work. I don't think they work as well, but at their best they "can" work. My concern is that the attitude of the two major opposition groups in the Council, unless they change, will not work. Good decisions are not made when political groups believe that the most important thing is how they can use a decision to raise their National profile, or what is going to look good on their next newsletter. I am afraid that "is" where the UKIP and Lib Dem Groups are in Cambridgeshire. That is why committees are going to struggle at the County Council.
2. I was forced out by my group. Anyone that says this does so without knowledge and, I would contend, is lieing. The Conservative group were 100% supportive of me - they have been magnificent over the last year. They have maintained confidentiality, had great discussions where we have needed them, individual members have respected decisions when they didn't agree with them and have stood full square behind me - and latterly, they have also supported my view that we should have more free votes at Council meetings. There was absolutely no pressure for me to go from anyone, it was my decision and mine alone.
Let me give you the real reasons in as few words as possible. I have loved serving our County over the last year. 90% of it has been great - I have absolutely detested the 10%. But I don't like pettiness and I don't buy the sort of party first, people second mentality that prevails in politics - especially in the two above named opposition groups at the County.
It was clear to me going forwards I would have to spend more and more of my time on that 10% - I suspect it would rise up to 50%. That is not for me - and it is bad for Cambridgeshire. So I have made the right decision for me and, I hope, sent a message to others about the need for a different approach. What they do next is their call, but be minded of what I have said.
I expected this sort of response, maybe I should have done something to anticipate it, it is a typical bit of politics. What I am now doing is mulling over a way of dealing with sort of stuff going forwards, so that I can expose it in a way that voters trust.