Sleaford

Conservatives gone: New group formed to lead North Kesteven council

The leaders of NKDC have been decided and it’s… the North Kesteven Administration.

The announcement follows a series of leadership decisions which saw Conservative councillors take the roles of Chairman, Vice Chairman and Leader of the council.

However, Councillor Richard Wright, returning to his position as leader of the council, then announced his intentions to work closer with opposition members.

In order to do so, he confirmed the Conservative group at the council would “no longer exist” and instead a new group would be formed. Though the councillors will still have their party allegiances.

North Kesteven District Council leader Richard Wright. Photo: Steve Smailes/Lincolnshire Reporter

He then proceeded to ask unaligned councillor Steven Clegg and Lincolnshire Independent Mervyn Head to join his executive – both of whom agreed – in order to make his executive more inclusive

A third of certain policy-making committee memberships, he said, would be open to opposition members.

Speaking before fellow members, councillor Wright praised the efforts of unaligned councillors Steve Clegg and Chris Goldson, who he said had helped in talks which had culminated in his decision.

“What we want to have is a more collegiate council that was run for better working and we tried to start that last year,” he said.

He added: “To everybody that is of like mind wanting to go forward and see this council go forward as a partnership is welcome to join. If not we will carry on as we are.”

“Hopefully this proves that there is a way forward.”

Marianne Overton, one of the NK Independents’ members. Photo: Daniel Jaines

When the Annual General Meeting of North Kesteven District Council began on Thursday night, it appeared that two forces gathered to face each other.

The Conservatives and the allied forces of the NK Independents, were almost equally matched and would have had 20 members each, if one of the NK indys (Bozena Allan) hadn’t dropped out last minute leaving it 20-19.

But there were now three players on the sidelines – all with the potential to be king-makers.

Following the elections, the council stood at 20 Conservatives, 16 Lincolnshire Independents and six independents.

Councillor Richard Wright said at the time the Tories still held the largest group.

However, four independents (Councillors Bozena Allan, Anthony Brand, Kay Gilliland and David Suiter) were then swayed into an alliance with the Lincolnshire Independents – levelling the playing field.

Independent Councillor Steve Clegg, along with Lincolnshire Independent Mervyn Head, will join the executive. Photo: NKDC

Only Councillors Steve Clegg and Chris Goldson remained unaligned – calling for an end to tribal politics. Then, last minute, they were re-joined by Councillor Bozena Allan leaving the final count on the night 20 Conservatives, 19 NK Independents, three unaligned.

The Conservatives took the lead at the start of the night when councillor Susan Waring was voted in as chairman over the Lincolnshire Independent Councillor Tony Brand with a vote of 22-19. It is the second time she has held the role.

Councillor Waring was then called on to cast a 21-21 tied vote for her chairman, choosing Conservative councillor Susannah Barker-Milan over Independent Kay Gilliland.

It was after this that Councillor Richard Wright was voted in over Lincolnshire Independent Marianne Overton by a vote of 20-19 with the unaligned councillors abstaining.

This might not be the end of things, however, as a by-election will take place in Billinghay, Martin and North Kyme place in June, which could see the numbers change yet again as the final seat is filled.

The May election saw one of those two seats filled by Conservative Gill Ogden uncontested after they were the only candidate to sign up.

The candidates for the election were announced during Thursday night’s meeting, they are:

  • Tracey Giannasi – Lincolnshire Independent
  • Robert Greetham – Independent
  • Matt Newman – Labour
  • Amanda Sanderson – Conservative
  • Stephen Shanahan-Kluth – Independent
  • Garry Winterton – Liberal Democrat

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