Campaigners are urging thousands of Buckinghamshire residents to back a petition calling for the government to reduce the number of politicians who will sit on the county’s new council.

Last month secretary of state, James Brokenshire, backed the district councils’ proposals to have 147 councillors voted onto the new unitary authority in May 2020.

The move has been heavily criticised by Bucks County Council leader Martin Tett – who originally proposed the unitary should have 98 members in order to save cash for vital services.

Members of Wycombe Liberal Democrats have  launched a petition calling for Mr Brokenshire to rethink his decision and reduce the number of planned councillors back down to 98.

The petition, published on the parliament website, currently has 134 supporters – however it will need 10,000 before the government responds.

Lib Dem candidate in the Totteridge and Bowerdean by-election, Ben Holkham, said: “It was originally said the unitary council would need to have 98 councillors, and then it was proposed it would have 147.

“This will cost £2 million compared to the original proposals.

“If you look at how cash-strapped services are at the current county council, we need this valuable funding to be released back into front line services.

“If they go forward with this it means the money is being used to fund the councillors when it could be spent elsewhere.”

District leaders stand by Mr Brokenshire’s decision, as the number is still a “significant reduction” from the 236 members that currently make up the county and district authorities.

Cllrs Nick Naylor (South Bucks leader), Isobel Darby (Chiltern leader) and Katrina Wood (Wycombe leader) said the “most important thing” is that residents across the county are fairly represented in the new council.

They are also recommending that the total budget for councillors' allowances remains the same, even with the larger number of members. 

Their statement said: “We are embarking on the biggest ever transformation of local government in Buckinghamshire and it is essential that there are enough councillors to take on the task of creating a brand new council that works for everyone, at the same time as continuing with the day to day business of running services and supporting our communities.

“That is why, given the choice between two or three councillors per ward for the first term of the new council, we believe that three councillors would be the best option in order to deliver proper local democracy to all of our communities. This was also the recommendation by the secretary of state.”

To view the petition visit: