New Democratic Alliance forms to become largest political group on East Devon District Council

A new Democratic Alliance has been formed on East Devon Devon District Council (EDDC) – and is now the largest political group on the authority.

Members from The Green Party, Liberal Democrats, Independent East Devon Alliance, and one independent representative have joined forces as part of the move.

So far, 22 of the 23 councillors from those parties have signed-up.

The one remaining member has been away and not yet has the chance to officially sign the necessary papers.

All councillors will retain their respective party or independent identities.

Democratic Alliance leader Councillor Paul Arnott said the group will now seek to become the official opposition on EDDC – and may even seek to form an administration.

The council is currently run by the 18-strong Independent Group. Its largest party had been the Conservatives, which has 19 elected members.

Cllr Arnott, of the Independent East Devon Alliance, said: “We have finalised a five-page document of our ambitions and it will be shared with all the Independent Group members.

“If some of them wish to consider coming on board, then the Democratic Alliance will be pleased to consider them.”

He added: “After recent meetings, the Democratic Alliance has found common cause in seeking to reform the running of the council, to properly examine planning policy and practice, and to accelerate the delivery of appropriate housing fit for charitable, private and public sectors.

“The Climate Emergency is a top priority in guiding policy.

“The group also wishes to call in the council’s borrowing, investment and acquisition policy at a time when the last administration’s long freeze on council tax rises has left the legacy of a looming deficit in the next financial year.

“Primarily, we will focus on the needs of residents, in particular, tackling the issues of poverty and employment.

“The group has also resolved that it is committed to discussing the future of the council with other members who share its vision.

“In the next few weeks it expects to become the official opposition at the council and, subject to national events, may seek to form an administration at [the]annual council [meeting]on May 12.

“Meanwhile, as the people of East Devon come to terms with the far-reaching implications of the coronavirus, Democratic Alliance councillors will continue to work hard with other members and officers.

“The health of local people is much more important than politics at this time.”

Liberal Democrat Cllr Eileen Wragg has been elected as the group’s deputy leader.

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