Labour councillor hits back at tension claims

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PORTSMOUTH’S Labour leader has hit out at the suggestion councillors do not get along and work together.

Councillor John Ferrett said political groups had pulled together to produce next year’s budget – and it was just the Lib Dems who chose not to co-operate.

Cllr Ferrett also highlighted how councillors have come together for the good of the city given it is operated by a Tory administration which does not hold a majority on the council.

His comments come after warnings were raised about whether a cross-party committee system could ever exist on the council as councillors do not get along and there is a lot of political tension.

Cllr Ferrett said: ‘In terms of the budget and in terms of looking at all of the savings, we were prepared – as were Ukip – to sit down with the leader of the council (Cllr Donna Jones). The Lib Dems took the deliberate approach of not sitting down and being part of the process. We want to protect vital services for people in the city.’

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem group leader, said he declined to work on a joint budget with other parties, as it would have been like ‘writing a blank cheque’.