A VOTE of no confidence will be called in the leader of BCP Council and her unity alliance administration next month.

The Conservatives, led by councillor Drew Mellor, will put forward the motion at the meeting of the full council on June 9 in a bid to take control of the authority.

He said his group would be “much stronger” and “more experienced” and would deal with the financial effects of the coronavirus response “head on”.

Since the death of Christchurch Independent Colin Bungey last month, there have been as many Conservative councillors as members of the ruling coalition.

Cllr Mellor had approached council leader Vikki Slade about the possibility of working together with Conservative councillors assuming some senior positions.

But this was rejected by Cllr Slade who said it would have meant existing coalition members would have been sidelined.

Now, Cllr Mellor has announced he will call a vote of no confidence in the existing leadership, saying the Conservatives have enough support for a majority.

“Over the last year we have seen several high-profile disagreements with the ruling seven-group coalition, leading already to a number of resignations,” he said.

“This has left the administration in even greater difficulty as it becomes harder and harder to satisfy the divergent wishes of each group and individual.”

Cllr Mellor praised the work of Cllr Slade, particularly during the coronavirus outbreak, but said her “cabinet of compromise” was stifling decision making.

He referenced the scaling-down of the Wessex Fields project and “disagreements and dithering” over the future of the Bournemouth Air Festival.

“It is clear that there has been too much need to compromise and not enough action,” he added. “At a time when the financial black hole resulting from the COVID crisis is a real threat to us all, such a luxury can no longer be afforded.”

He said the Conservative group was already “in discussion” with business figures across the conurbation about putting together “a bold transformation agenda” should the vote be successful.

Cllr Slade said the move was “incredibly disappointing”.

“It is not the right thing for the residents and it is unhelpful for some council colleagues to be playing politics while officers and councillors are working so hard to get through the coronavirus pandemic and to continue delivering vital local services, looking after the most vulnerable in our communities,” she said.

“Only last month Cllr Mellor wrote to two cabinet members saying he had no intention of bringing a vote of no confidence until after we are through the initial phase of the pandemic and also until the tragically required Christchurch by-election had been contested."

She added:“This is a hugely unhelpful and unnecessary distraction and I feel that many people will agree that it’s a serious error of judgement."

Should the vote of confidence succeed, there would be a vote to elect a new leader of the council who would then appoint their own cabinet.

Additional reporting by Andy Martin