A KEY vote over the control of BCP Council is due to take place tonight.

The Conservative group, which has functioned as the opposition party since last year's local elections, is attempting to become the dominant political force by calling the vote of no confidence in Unity Alliance leader and Liberal Democrat councillor Vikki Slade at the full council meeting this evening.

Councillor Drew Mellor, Conservative group leader, announced his intention to the table the vote two weeks ago.

Since residents went to the polls in May 2019, the conubration-wide local authority has been run by the Unity Alliance coalition, led by Cllr Slade.

However, following the death of Christchurch Independent councillor Colin Bungey in April, the Conservatives have had as many elected members as the Unity Alliance administration.

Writing to the Daily Echo in the past couple of days, Cllr Mellor, who was elected group leader in March by his Conservative colleagues following the resignation of Cllr Bob Lawton, said the Unity Alliance is "is now a minority administration whose cabinet of political compromise is paralysed by their internal politics and inexperience".

Councillor Slade said the move by the Conservative group was "incredibly disappointing". She added that she felt "it is unhelpful for some council colleagues to be playing politics while officers and councillors are working so hard" during the pandemic.

A dispute between councillors has taken place since Cllr Mellor announced his plan to call the vote of no confidence.

In a letter, the five Poole People councillors, who make up part of the Unity Alliance and include council deputy leader Mark Howell, said Cllr Mellor is taking advantage of the death of a Unity Alliance councillor, labelling this move as "irresponsible and underhand".

While similar concerns were raised by other coalition members, including Liberal Democrat and Christchurch Independent councillors, Cllr Mellor dismissed the allegations and said the vote was called because of “policy paralysis”.

The Conservative group leader said he offered to put politics to one side and to work with the Cllr Slade, however, this proposal was rejected by the council leader who said it would have meant existing coalition members would have been sidelined.

A petition set up in support of Cllr Slade and the Unity Alliance has received more than 1,600 signatures.

Tonight's full council meeting, which will be held virtually via Skype, is due to begin at 7pm. BCP Council will be streaming the meeting online and you can follow the meeting live on the Daily Echo website with updates from Local Democracy Reporter Josh Wright.