Friday 19 May 2023

THE CONSERVATIVES continue in control of East Riding Council following yesterday’s annual meeting, despite not having an overall majority in the council Chamber. The new Leader of the Council is Conservative group chairman Cllr Anne Handley (pictured) with Cllr Charlie Dewhirst Deputy Leader.

Following elections earlier this month the make-up of the council is as follows: Conservatives 29 (down 13), Liberal-Democrat 22 (up nine), Independents 9 (down one), Labour 4 (up four), Yorkshire Party 3 (up one). Thirty-four councillors is needed for an outright majority.

At yesterday’s meeting Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Denis Healy said 64 per cent of the electorate had voted for a change and if councillors voted for the Conservative group to retain control of the council it would be “disregarding the will of the people”. Cllr Handley, however, was voted in by 39 votes to 24, with four councillors absent from the meeting.

Seven Conservatives will fill all Cabinet positions as Portfolio holders, with one remaining post currently left vacant. The make-up of council committees with see Conservatives filling 62 positions, Lib-Dems 47, Independent 18, Labour 8 and Yorkshire Party 6, reflecting the overall proportion of seats for each group.

Finally, the outgoing Chairman of the council, Cllr John Whittle, an Independent, was re-elected council chairman for a second term, with Cllr Linda Bayram (Conservative), vice-chairman. More information here

Cllr Handley, who represents Goole North, becomes the council’s first female Leader and succeeds Cllr Jonathan Owen. The former business owner and Goole College Lecturer told the newly-elected councillors that her vision and ambition for the county had been “shaped” by her experience of life growing up in the 1960s in a low-income family.  She said that she had worked hard throughout her life to provide better opportunities for herself, her family, and others. 

Cllr Handley said, “Creating opportunities for residents will be at the heart of my administration’s priorities, ensuring good education, the supply of skilled jobs, more economic investment across the county and support for vulnerable communities.” 

The new Leader said that this would be achieved whilst also “eliminating wasteful spending and putting money back into the pockets of hardworking taxpayers”. 

She also made clear that the key to fulfilling these aims is to secure the “best devolution deal for our region, putting us firmly on the map.”

She called on councillors to work together for the good of all East Riding Residents.