Tories break Town Hall deadlock and elect a new Council leader

WINNING LINE-UP: The 2018 competition
NEW LEADER: Cllr Tom Dawlings

Cllr Tom Dawlings was voted as Leader of TWBC during the first full council meeting to be held in the Town Hall since the coronavirus pandemic began.

In a new look chamber at the no overall control Council, the 24 Conservative and 24 opposition councillors were separated by plexiglass to adhere to Covid safety regulations.

Conservative Tom Dawlings was elected Leader despite there being a stalemate in the chamber.

It followed the resignation of previous leader Cllr Alan McDermott, who stood down at the weekend following a disastrous local election on May 6 that saw the Conservatives lose overall control of the Council for the first time in more than 20 years.

While they are the largest party, the Town Hall is currently tied with the Tories holding 24 seats and the opposition parties also holding 24 between them.

All 24 opposition councillors voted against Cllr Dawlings’ Conservative succession as leader, but the vote was carried after new Mayor, Cllr Chris Woodward, used his casting vote to carry the motion forward.

Cllr Dawlings’ election as Leader is for a four-year term.

Chris Woodward himself was elected as the new Mayor of the Borough just thirty minutes earlier after the previous Mayor, Joy Podbury, used her casting vote to carry his election through.

All 24 opposition councillors voted against the motion to elect the Conservative Broadwater councillor as Mayor.

Cllr Godfrey Bland [Conservative] was appointed as Deputy Mayor following a unanimous vote of 44 councillors for, two against and two abstentions, with most opposition members backing his election.

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