Tories hold on to power at South Glos Council
THE new-look South Gloucestershire Council has been unveiled after the Conservatives held on to power at the local elections.
Of the 61 seats available, the Tories won 33, a majority of five over the Liberal Democrats, who took 17 seats, and Labour, who secured 11.
Tory candidates won all three seats in Emersons Green, with Judy Adams, Rachael Hunt and Colin Hunt all more than 250 votes ahead of Labour’s Sadik Al-Hassan, who was the highest-placed candidate to miss out.
Boyd Valley’s Steve Reade and Ben Stokes were both re-elected.
In the Frenchay & Downend ward, Tories Ben Burton, Jon Hunt and James Griffiths were elected, all gaining at least 600 votes more than the highest-polling Labour candidate, AJ Coakham.
In the Staple Hill and Mangotsfield ward, Labour’s Ian Boulton, Michael Bell and Katie Cooper were elected. All three were at least 550 votes ahead of the fourth-placed candidate, Conservative Matt Pitts.
On the council’s ruling cabinet, Longwell Green councillor Toby Savage will continue to lead the council after he was unanimously elected by the Conservative group. Jon Hunt has been reappointed deputy leader.
The other cabinet members are: Erica Williams (Bitton and Oldland Common), schools, skills and employment; Ben Stokes (Boyd Valley), adults and public health; Steve Reade (Boyd Valley), planning, transport and strategic environment; Rachael Hunt (Emersons Green), communities and Ben Burton, corporate resources.
The Lib Dems confirmed that Claire Young and Maggie Tyrrell have been re-elected as leader and deputy respectively.
For Labour, Woodstock councillor Pat Rooney is once again the leader of the Labour group, while Ian Boulton remains deputy leader.
In the Downend area, Katie Cooper is the adult care executive shadow and Michael Bell is the spokesperson for development management and public rights of way.
Councillor Savage said: “This election has been hard-fought, with a lot of focus being drawn towards national issues, so I am pleased by the outcome and that the public continue to put their confidence in us and how we have run the council over the past four years.
“I am proud we now have a fantastic team in place, offering a strong mix of fresh enthusiasm and valuable experience, both in the Conservative group as a whole, and in the newly-formed cabinet.”
Councillor Rooney said: “Although we are disappointed not to have increased in number, I am heartened that every Labour councillor is keen to take on a named role and responsibility. I believe we are a strong team that will punch above its weight.”
MP Chris promoted to Cabinet role
KINGSWOOD MP Chris Skidmore, who only recently became universities minister, has had another promotion.
Prime Minister Theresa May has asked him to take on the the climate brief in Cabinet to cover for Claire Perry, who is taking leave of absence to care for a family member.
Mr Skidmore will continue with his higher education job while temporarily also being Minister of State for the energy and clean growth.
The MP said he was honoured to be taking on the role and would aim to match Ms Perry’s commitment to the “crucially important” brief.