A council warned by the government over plans to revive its in-house newsletter will now slash production of the publication after the previous administration was overthrown.
HTFP revealed last month how South Ribble Council, then run by the Tories, had been cautioned by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government after the authority unveiled plans to produce three editions of its ‘Forward’ publication over the next six months, in contravention of the department’s guidelines.
But a new Labour cabinet, which seized control of the authority earlier this month after Tory leader Mary Green was ousted as leader of her own group, has now announced as its first act that Forward will only appear once in the run-up to next year’s local elections.
Forward was last published in March 2017 and the Tories’ plan to increase its publication frequency was labelled ‘gerrymandering” by Labour.
According to the Lancashire Post, a single edition of Forward will now be delivered to 49,000 later this month.
A cross-party working group – which previously recommended that a monthly email newsletter replace all but one annual print edition of Forward – will now be reconvened to consider the future of the publication.
Mick Titherington, deputy leader of the council, told the new cabinet’s first meeting: “Before making any decisions in relation to the Forward newspaper, we need to have some evidence before us, rather than just anecdotes.”
Labour took control of the council after an extraordinary meeting following the resignation of Cllr Green.
According to the Chorley Citizen, Caroline Moon, Conservative deputy leader, told the meeting that party rules meant the group could not nominate a new council leader until it had elected a leader of the party – and she then sought to adjourn the meeting until November.
But the absence of nine Tory councillors meant the group was minus its usual working majority – and Cllr Moon’s request was rejected.
Labour councillor Paul Foster was subsequently approved as leader at the meeting by 20 votes to 19, with one abstention.