Michael Gove will be an environmental disaster

Theresa May’s appointment of Michael Gove as head of the environment and farming ministry, Defra, is a disaster in the making. He is likely to sweep away many of the regulations that protect the environment and biodiversity.

Politically, we live in curious times with no certainty that the government will be stable or strong enough to survive the Brexit process. Theresa May has reappointed most of her pre-election cabinet, but she moved Andrea Leadsom from Defra to become Leader of the House of Commons. Michael Gove has been brought back to cabinet as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. We have gone from a barely noticed Defra Secretary to one that will crave attention by swinging a wrecking ball through environmental regulation.

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More Tory troubles at Shirehall as Councillor Robert Tindall resigns whip

Robert Tindall, recently re-elected councillor for Brown Clee, has today announced his resignation from the Conservative group on Shropshire Council.

I’m not surprised that Councillor Tindall has taken this action. He was one of at least three councillors from the south of the county that did not vote for the new leader of Shropshire Council, Peter Nutting. The makeup of the new cabinet has concentrated power further towards the north of the county.

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Tory tensions show at Shropshire Council as new leader and cabinet installed

We knew there had been some shenanigans within the Conservative group on Shropshire Council but we weren’t quite expecting members to be so obvious about their tensions in public.

At today’s meeting of the full council, Peter Nutting was voted in as leader. That was a foregone conclusion as he had been elected Conservative leader days before. But three or more members of the Conservative group sat on their hands and failed to vote for him. Later there was an extraordinary outburst from one Tory councillor who was outraged by the paucity of councillors from the south of the county in cabinet positions or chairing the key scrutiny committees.

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Conservatives depose Pate and elect new leader for Shropshire Council

Just a week ago, Malcolm Pate, the leader of Shropshire Council until the 4 May elections, was confident of being re-elected as leader of the Conservative group on Shropshire Council. The Conservative leader is always voted in as leader of the council. Now, the Conservative group have ousted Pate and replaced him by Shrewsbury councillor, Peter Nutting.

Only a week ago, Malcolm Pate used an interview on BBC Radio Shropshire to boast of his confidence in seeing off any “superegos” that might challenge him. His task, he told the interviewers, was to get “the council out of the mire it was in when I took over 15 months ago.”  His belief that he had the backing of his Tory colleagues has proved to be wrong.

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Shropshire Council Elections 2017: We could have gained more progressive seats

The unitary elections were not a disaster for any political party other than UKIP. The Liberal Democrats lost one seat to the Conservatives as did Labour and an independent. The Greens lost one seat but gained another.

Although the Conservatives gained 7% more votes and one more seat over 2013, the opposition was far from decimated. Could more seats have been won if the opposition parties had cooperated? I think so. And if we had have done so, we might have created a very different, progressive future for our county.

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