A VOTE of no confidence in the leader of BCP Council, Cllr Drew Mellor, failed at an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday night.

Christchurch Independents councillor Lesley Dedman tabled the motion saying the Conservative leadership has brought the council into “local and national disrepute”.

She told the council chamber: "We were promised a glittering well-run future. We have a Conservative council whose leaders have caused us national embarrassment.

"It's about the character and integrity and everyone can plainly see we fail that test abysmally. We see spin, falsehoods, aggression and disrespect.

"It suffers from a lack of integrity."

However, Conservative members defended the leader vigorously, accusing the Christchurch Independents of pulling the shutters down on 'outsiders'.

Councillor Mellor dismissed suggestions Covid guidance were broken by members of his adminstration at a meeting on April 26. He said the official advice was followed to the "letter and spirit".

Many members on both sides of the chamber spoke during a lengthy debate at the town hall session on the evening of May 10.

During a recorded vote, the motion failed with only 27 supporting it. Forty councillors voted against and there was one abstention.

Speaking immediately after the vote on the chamber floor, Cllr Mellor told the Daily Echo he was “absolutely delighted” with the outcome.

He said: “What was most pleasing was talking about all we have achieved in the past 20 months – two council tax freezes, £11million kept in people’s pockets, 35 per cent more in children’s services budgets and really putting our priorities first. Our record speaks for itself.

“I am super proud of my colleagues who have helped us to deliver that.”

Asked how he will now bring the council together over the next 12 months, Cllr Mellor said: “When I was in opposition I was offering to work collegiately with everybody in any party. That has always been rejected by councillor Vikki Slade and her colleagues at the time.

“What I am saying now is I will work with anybody, we just need to put BCP first and continue to do that. It is absolutely about putting the residents at the heart of what we do. It is what I said when I stood for election and it is absolutely what I am still saying now.”

He added: “What we are trying to do is put an ambitious agenda together so BCP is one of the best places in the country to be.

"That is about putting residents right at the heart of it and whether it is our most vulnerable parts of the community, or the more affluent areas, we just need to make sure we are ambitious about delivering for the people in BCP.”

Councillor Dedman said while the vote on the motion was lost "we clearly won the moral argument".

“By any measure BCP Council under this administration is  disfunctional and failing, and clearly is not delivering for the people of Christchurch or indeed across the conurbation, for whom I was speaking last night," said Cllr Dedman.

"We will continue to hold this administration to account despite their best efforts to evade scrutiny and the voters will have their say at the ballot box in 50 weeks' time.

"As far as the residents of Christchurch are concerned, they did not want the merger three years ago, and having seen this Conservative administration in action for the past 20 months, l am sure they will not have changed their mind.“