Tories remain silent as new Chairman and Vice Chairman elected to East Devon District Council

How refreshing to have two very capable, professional, women presiding over debates in the council.

Already last night we were spared the pompous posturing of Cllr. Stuart Hughes as Vice Chairman Val Ranger presided over the election of Cllr. Dr. Cathy Gardner as Chairman.

Readers may recall  a central Conservative  argument against change summarised in this quote from the extraordinary general  meeting (EGM) called to decide to have a meeting to change:

Cllr Dean Barrow spoke against the need for the EGM to be held, saying that the pandemic had a significant impact on the council and that an experienced chairman to lead is needed, while Cllr Moulding added: “Residents would expect the council to be focusing on the response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

In proposing Dr Gardner as Chairman, new Leader Cllr. Paul Arnott couldn’t help pointing out that Dr Gardner was a microbiologist with a deep understanding of microbial aerosol propagation and therefore held highly appropriate knowledge and experience to lead the council during the pandemic. (Yet another Tory fox shot).

In her short acceptance speech Dr Gardner simply said: “ I look forward to implementing as much as I possibly can the duties of councillors under the Nolan Principles; really, respect for all members and members of the public in all our meetings, and particularly for the Nolan principle of objectivity, which currently is particularly relevant; that we should act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.”

As Owl reported last night 13 Councillors sent their apologies, mostly Conservatives including; Cllrs: Hughes; Moulding; Tom Wright (fortunately); Skinner. and the one-time Independent turned “build build build” Conservative Cllr Helen Parr.  Another three simply couldn’t bother to log in including Cllr. Ben Ingham. 

As Devonboy has already commented:

“So the Conservatives have once again shown their true colours when it comes to democracy. Toys out of pram springs to mind.”

The new cabinet gets down to business this afternoon:

Virtual Meeting, Cabinet – Tuesday, 9th June, 2020 2.00 pm