Turmoil in Indy/Tory Mid Devon Council as Indy Leader ousted by Tories but their nominee then fails to get majority

Difficult to sort the “good-uns” from the “bad-uns” in this complicated story of an “Indy”/Tory administration falling apart, with serious consequences explained in a companion post as they grapple with legacy problems.

Reminds Owl of the infamous Ingham (LINO) regime in East Devon [Leader in name only].

See, for example, this 2020 extract from the LibDems Mid Devon Council Leader ‘acting like the Sun King!’

Liberal Democrat Councillor Alex White commented, “As Liberal Democrats we are very proud to have forged a consensus with Independent and Green Councillors that in the last two years has made the Council more responsive to the needs of the local community. We unwisely thought Bob Deed, who had quit the Tory Group, shared our principles, but it looks like he has reverted to type.”

Deed, who has been heavily involved in promoting the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan, replaced the four Liberal Democrat Councillors with his former Conservative colleagues in a move seen to be aimed at reversing the Council Cabinet decision to oppose GESP.

Mid Devon District Council has a new leader

Ollie Heptinstall www.devonlive.com

Mid Devon District Council has a new council leader. It follows the resignation of the previous leader following a tumultuous meeting on Wednesday night.

Ahead of the meeting, Cllr Bob Deed, the Independent leader of the council, had been facing calls to resign. A motion had been put forward by Tory group leader – and Cllr Deed’s former deputy – Cllr Clive Eginton – calling for his resignation.

Mid Devon’s political leadership has been in turmoil after the Conservative members of Cllr Deed’s Independent-Tory cabinet left in a dispute over the authority’s controversial 3Rivers property development company. Cllr Deed said he was going to appoint the necessary replacement cabinet members ahead of the meeting, but soon after it began news broke that he had resigned.

The Conservatives tried to get Cllr Eginton appointed as the new council leader, but this failed to receive a majority of votes. A subsequent vote to appoint Independent councillor Barry Warren, who represents the Lower Culm ward, and who is a prominent voice on the council’s scrutiny and planning committees, was then passed successfully.

The former police officer is only likely to serve as leader until May’s council elections, telling colleagues after his appointment: “I am purely here as a caretaker until the next election.”

But it is likely to be a busy two-and-a-half months. Mid Devon still needs to agree a balanced budget for 2023/24 in the coming days and Cllr Warren will need to quickly appoint a new cabinet.

“There will just be some urgent matters to deal with,” he said. “But if somebody is expecting myself or my cabinet to come up with some earth-shattering new initiative or something, there won’t be. It’ll be very much trying to keep going what’s already going and tweaking what needs doing. Until I’ve talked to various officers, I haven’t got a clue where we start.”