FENLAND'S only opposition councillor is waiting with bated breath to see if he is given a place on any of the council's committees when it meets for the first time tomorrow.

Manea representative Mark Archer is the only opposition councillor on the Conservative controlled council, which means he is facing an uphill battle to get his voice heard.

In a statement this week Mr Archer, who caused one of the few shocks in the recent local elections by beating sitting Tory Robert Sears by nearly 200 votes in the polls, also hit out at council leader Geoff Harper.

He has called for a public apology from Mr Harper after he criticised the electorate for voting for him and not Mr Sears.

He said: "I am very disappointed to read Mr Harper's criticism of Manea for the choice they have made.

"I am disgusted that the leader of the council and a man who puts himself forward as a democrat should heap scorn upon the village just because the vote didn’t go the way he would have liked.

"He seems to have forgotten that this election was about the people of Fenland choosing the best people to serve them. It was not about the political ambitions and careers of certain individuals.

"Mr Sears may well have been ‘tipped for the top’ and a potential cabinet member, but he was very obviously not what Manea wanted."

And he believes the Conservatives massive success in securing 39 of the council's 40 seats was largely down to the current unpopularity of the Labour government.

He claimed: "The result in Manea shows that when people were given the choice of a strong alternative they did not choose the Conservatives."

And he challenged Mr Harper, stating: "With myself now the only opposition voice on the council we will soon see how deep Mr Harper's democratic credentials run. If I am not offered a seat on any of the council committees it will be very difficult for the people of Manea to have their views heard. I am not holding my breath.

"In the meantime the least Mr Harper can do is to offer the voters of Manea a public apology for his attack on them and their democratic choice."

And finally Mr Archer thanked the people of Manea for their support and promised: "We had the second highest turnourt in Fenland and I am honoured, that by a very large majority, the village opted to elect me rather than the sitting Conservative councillor.

"I acknowledge that a large part of our village voted for the other candidate and I would like to reassure all of these people that my duty is to represent all the residents of Manea no matter which way they voted. I will do this to the very best of my ability."