The London “tri-borough” arrangement is at an “enormous crossroads” now that Hammersmith & Fulham LBC is under Labour control, communities secretary Eric Pickles has said.
Speaking at a reception at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, Mr Pickles said he believed the shared services arrangement would “survive” the change in political control.
He added: “We are now at an enormous crossroads because if the Labour party are so petty and sectarian to kill what’s one of the most exciting, most innovative, cleverest schemes in local government, that says more about them than it does about us.”
He said the arrangement was “the future of local government”, adding: “There’s no reason it shouldn’t survive people from different parties. After all, if a child is at risk it’s the same with a Labour, Conservative or Liberal Democrat party.”
Mr Pickles said he was a “big fan” of the tri-borough arrangement because it could “save a lot of money” and “give a better service”.
Also speaking at the event, Westminster City Council leader Philippa Roe (Con) said an external review of the tri-borough arrangement, commissioned by Hammersmith & Fulham LBC’s Labour leadership, would be published soon. She said she expected the report to be broadly positive about the arrangement, with some suggestions for improvement.