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Questions raised over who will be opposition leader in St Helens
LABOUR’S domination at St Helens town hall has led to uncertainty over who will be made the official leader of the opposition.
With the Tories and Lib Dems left with three councillors each following this year’s elections, an independent panel will rule on whether the post should be in place.
Lib Dem Stephanie Topping was the leader of the opposition until her defeat in Sutton in the recent local elections, a post which came with an allowance of £4,725 that is additional to the basic councillor £7,461. The Lib Dems had held five seats when their then-leader occupied the post.
A St Helens Council spokesman said: “We are going through a process to clarify the position with regard to the opposition leader due to the equal numbers of numbers in the opposition groups.
“We are awaiting recommendations from the Independent Remuneration Panel which will be reported to the annual council.”
A source told the Star that there was potentially a situation whereby the post may not exist this year, however a council spokesman could not confirm this.
The former leader of St Helens Conservatives David Monk stepped down before the last election with Rainford councillor Allan Jones taking his place as leader. He is joined by fellow councillors Linda Mussell and Rupert Nichols.
However, with Geoff Pearl due to be the next mayor of St Helens, a non-political role, the Lib Dems have just two candidates to select from, Eccleston councillors Teresa Simms and Michael Haw.
Cllr Simms, a former mayor, said the Lib Dems are due to hold a meeting to choose their candidate.
Labour has an overwhelming majority with 42 seats.
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