Website war over Worthing Lib Dem leader’s exit

W41396P9_WH_Councillors Phot Malcolm 131009''Alan Rice, Liberal Democrat.W41396P9
W41396P9_WH_Councillors Phot Malcolm 131009''Alan Rice, Liberal Democrat.W41396P9

A WEBSITE war followed last week’s Herald story of Worthing Lib Dem leader Alan Rice quitting the chairmanship of a key council committee.

Mr Rice vacated the budget advisory group chair on the grounds that he was given the position only as a “crumb” to offload blame for “unpopular cuts”.

But he was attacked by Herald website contributor “Joby”. who said: “Just another example of Liberal Democrats backing out of their responsibilities when difficult decisions have to be made.

“On a more important note, those who voted Liberal Democrat have no representation on this important committee now.

“Surely, councillor Rice should now consider his position as leader of Worthing Liberal Democrats... it should be noted that the Liberal Democrats ‘insisted’ on this budget committee chair appointment around May, 2010.

“Now he has backed out when tough decisions have to be made, and irresponsibly abandoned those who voted for him”

Alan Rice commented on Worthing and Adur councils’ joint overview and scrutiny committee, with Worthing’s appointed chair and vice-chair being Conservatives.

“Adur is more enlightened and in line with best practice has an opposition party chair (Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association).”

Lib Dem councillor Bob Smytherman said the statement by Worthing Council leader Paul Yallop that the national Coalition cuts were put forward by Lib Dem minister Danny Alexander was “simply not true”.

“The Coalition agreement took a number of days to negotiate and came about as a result of compromises, that is what a coalition surely is...?”

Mr Smytherman said that with the budget group, Tory councillors made decisions in advance of the meetings and used Mr Rice as chairman as a “shield for the difficult decisions that we had no part of”.