IT’S Our County (IOC) leader Cllr Anthony Powers has accused opponents of using “the old politics of patronage” to force his group out of  controlling a key committee.

IOC councillors Alan Seldon and Liz Harvey lost the respective roles of chairman and vice-chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee to an Independent-Tory combination put up at this morning’s (Friday) meeting of the full council.

Independent group leader Cllr Sebastian Bowen was overwhelmingly voted in as chairman of overview and scrutiny and widely expected to stand down as group leader.

Tory councillor Barry Durkin was  voted in as his deputy.

Cllr Powers had proposed that Cllr Seldon and Cllr Harvey retained their roles.

“Tories and Independents seemed  determined to put an end to IOC’s two-year leadership of the General Overview & Scrutiny committee,” said Cllr Powers.

“Despite the highly qualified, experienced, and forensically effective partnership of Cllrs  Seldon and Harvey, Conservative and Independent members backed  their leaders’ alternative ticket and both were duly voted in, demonstrating that their groups can be relied upon to collaborate in the old politics of patronage,  and in contradiction to the administration’s evident endorsement of the best practice principle that they should step aside from any scrutiny leadership,” he said.

Cllrs Seldon and Harvey were widely expected to retain their roles and bolster the credibility of scrutiny as the council headed into an election next year.

The idea of an alternative ticket has been doing the rounds of the council’s Brockington  HQ for the past week.