A NEW leader of BCP Council will be elected next month after a vote of no confidence in councillor Vikki Slade succeeded.

The Conservative opposition’s motion - the second of its kind in three months - secured majority support at Tuesday evening’s full council meeting.

Group leader councillor Drew Mellor said they could now “move forward with a truly positive agenda”.

The first vote of no confidence, called in June, narrowly failed when council chairman David Flagg used his casting vote to break a deadlock.

But the decision of councillor Julie Bagwell to leave the ruling Unity Alliance, known as a rainbow alliance, earlier this month over what she called “a catalogue of catastrophic policy decisions” prompted the second motion to be put forward.

Introducing it at Tuesday’s meeting, Cllr Mellor said the coalition had “lurched within 24 hours from one crisis and one U-turn to another”.

He highlighted the backlash over many of the schemes put forward by the council under the emergency active travel scheme and claims councillors were “gagged” from sharing details of proposed measures.

“What this motion is about is this alliance as a hapless administration which has failed all residents,” he said. “Although the named person is the leader of the alliance, it is the alliance itself which has failed.

“Therefore all ward councillors, as representatives of their residents, supporting this regrettable but necessary vote are providing the opportunity, regardless of their politics or none, to remove the Unity Alliance and then seek a viable and accountable way forward.

“Positive change is being demanded by our residents across the conurbation, positive change must happen and we stand before you ready to deliver it.”

The position of the Unity Alliance was further weakened by the July death of Liberal Democrat councillor Peter Parrish.

Its members accused the Conservative group of taking advantage of this and inability to hold by-elections for replacement councillors until at least May.

Labour councillor George Farquhar said the decision to bring forward the motion was “reprehensible”.

“This leader faces another vote [of no confidence] after the death of yet another councillor with the flimsiest of reasons,” he said.

“It is obvious that [Cllr Mellor] is viewed by some to be playing the numbers game and populist politics and this is particularly important because cannot hold by-elections.

However, the Conservatives argued that the coalition would still not have had a majority even if it won both of the vacant seats.

Councillor Anne Filer said she believed people living across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole had been “very badly served” by the council.

“A change is needed before the area that I represent – and love – is irretrievably damaged,” she said.

Cllr Slade revealed she had offered the Conservative group two cabinet positions within her coalition while also turning down a Conservative offer for her Liberal Democrat group to become a “junior partner” in a new administration.

“This is more proof that this is power above anything else,” she said. “To suggest it would be better for my career to join a Conservative cabinet than face down a vote in my leadership shows how out of touch they are.

“My loyalty is to the people of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and continuing what we started. I will not be the Nick Clegg of Poole and give away my integrity for a seat pushing through policies I do not support.”

Despite her comments, the vote of no confidence was passed by 39 votes to 33.

Among those to vote with Conservatives were former coalition members Cllrs Bagwell and Daniel Butt.

They said there had been “a total lack of strategic leadership” and that the administration needed to change to best serve the residents of their Hamworthy ward.

As a result of the vote, Cllr Slade was deposed as leader and will be replaced by her deputy, councillor Mark Howell, until an emergency meeting to elect her successor is held on October 1.

Speaking after the meeting, she said her administration had been “let down by circumstances”.

“Had we not seen the deaths of two of our colleagues the opportunity to bring a vote against us would not have come about and we would have weathered the storm,” she said.

“It still makes me angry that the leader of the Conservative group was so impatient to get his hands on power that he could not even pause to give time to grieve their loss, bringing the vote at the first opportunity not once but twice.”

Cllr Mellor said the council could now “move forward with a truly positive agenda”.

“We are delighted to have carried the support of such a majority of councillors that puts clear blue water between the past and future,” he said. “I would like to thank Cllr Slade for what was undeniably a significant effort over the last 16 months.

At the October 1 meeting, Cllr Mellor will be put forward as the Conservative candidate for council leader while the Unity Alliance has already agreed to put Cllr Slade forward as its candidate.