Council elect a new Mayor and a new Leader

Cllr James Scholes steps up from his position of Deputy Mayor to replace Cllr Len Horwood following the end of the latter’s 12-month term of office.

Cllr Scholes has served The Pantiles and St Marks since 1988, but had previously been councillor for the now defunct Pantiles ward from 1976-86.

The Conservative also served as Mayor in 1991-92, so becomes the first member of the council to become Mayor for a second term since the Second World War.

The council also elected a new Leader at this morning’s Full Council meeting.

Alan McDermott, who served as Deputy Leader under David Jukes, was elected Leader of the Conservative Group last week.

Despite a number of opposition councillors voting against his election as council Leader, as well as a number of abstentions, including two from his own party, the councillor for Brenchley & Horsmonden passed a Full Council vote of 25 in favour, 16 against and four abstentions.

Former cabinet member David Reilly, who resigned last week and wrote an open letter to the Times protesting at the ‘direction’ the council were taking on the £90million Calverley Square development, refused to back Cllr McDermott as Leader of the council.

Cllr Barrington-King, who stood against McDermott in last week’s Conservative Leader election, also abstained from the vote.

Opposition Leader, Ben Chapelard, the Liberal Democrat councillor for St James’, was absent from the Full Council meeting due to ill health.

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