News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Labour’s Ian Roberts reappointed as Flintshire Council leader for the next year

Flintshire Council leader Ian Roberts has been re-appointed to head up the ruling Labour administration for the next year.

Cllr Roberts first took up the position last month following Aaron Shotton stepping down in the wake of the controversy surrounding the sacking of his deputy Bernie Attridge.

The decision to re-elect him was made in the wake of Cllr Attridge’s defection to become an independent after almost 30 years as a member of the Labour Party.

He made the switch on Friday as he said the events of recent months, including his removal from cabinet and subsequent falling out with Cllr Shotton, had taken their toll.

The Connah’s Quay representative was sat on the opposition benches for the first time at the authority’s AGM, which was held at County Hall in Mold today.

During proceedings, members of the New Independents, which Cllr Attridge is now part of, chose to abstain on the leader’s appointment.

However, it was backed by the majority of the politicians present and in his acceptance speech, Cllr Roberts stressed the need to move away from the controversy which has plagued the council of late.

He said: “In many ways, after a month ago when I was elected as interim leader, it’s a bit like a replay this so quickly after that one.

“I am genuinely honoured and the words I said on that day were that I want to refocus this council on the services we provide for 160,000 people on a day to day basis, most of which we do very well.

“Most of the services we provide just happen every day and they’re happening now as we’re sat here.

“Our schools are working, our care homes, our Streetscene services are out there, our staff are out there in the offices and out with the public working for the benefit of the people of this county.

“I am very proud and humbled to be elected as leader of this county council once again.”

The role of deputy leader was also filled during the meeting by Carolyn Thomas, cabinet member for Streetscene and countryside, after initially being left vacant in the wake of Cllr Attridge’s sacking.

Meanwhile, Cllr David Hughes replaced him as housing portfolio holder on a permanent basis and Cllr Glyn Banks took on the finance cabinet position formerly overseen by Cllr Shotton.

The rest of the cabinet positions remained the same and were confirmed with little opposition.

But Labour’s bid to have its former leader, who is the subject of an ongoing Ombudsman’s investigation, installed as chair of the Clwyd Pension Fund Committee was met with stiff resistance.

Independent Alliance leader Mike Peers attempted to have the committee’s independent vice-chair Hadyn Bateman appointed instead.

He said: “Cllr Bateman has served on this committee for a number of years and is well experienced and well versed.

“The position of the vice chair and moving into the chair of this committee is a natural progression.

“You will have a chair of that committee who is experienced and has served as a chair for a while.”

A recorded vote was held to choose who should become chair of the committee with Cllr Bateman’s nomination being rejected by 32 votes to 28.

It means Cllr Shotton will now take up the position despite a number of votes against him, including by his former ally Cllr Attridge.

Other roles decided at the meeting saw Marion Bateman become chair of the council for the next 12 months, while Joe Johnson became vice-chair.

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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