My first experience of doorstep campaigning having moved to Southend was on a rainy Saturday morning in Kursaal ward, alongside Anne Jones and Chas Willis.
Anne, most alert Southenders will know, is the indefatigable councillor for Kursaal and the portfolio holder for Children & Learning within the Joint Administration. Chas, of course, was elected last year as the most recent councillor for Westborough ward.
There is a certain symmetry, therefore, that Anne will be contesting Westborough ward herself next May.
Introducing the new make-up of the Cabinet on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council:
Cllr Ron Woodley (IND – Thorpe) — Leader of the Council
Cllr Ian Gilbert (LAB – Victoria) — Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Councillor for Community and Organisational Development
Cllr Graham Longley (LD – Blenheim Park) — Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Councillor for Enterprise, Tourism and Economic Development
Cllr Martin Terry (IND – Thorpe) — Executive Councillor for Public Protection, Waste and Transport Cllr David Norman (LAB – Victoria) — Executive Councillor for Housing, Planning and Regulatory Control
Cllr Anne Jones (LAB – Kursaal) — Executive Councillor for Children and Learning
Cllr James Moyies (SIG – West Shoebury) — Executive Councillor for Health and Adult Social Care
That makes 3 Labour councillors, 2 Independent councillors, 1 Liberal Democrat councillor, and 1 Southend Independence Group councillor.
I’ll leave it up to readers to decide who they think is driving this administration’s agenda…
The first meeting of the new council has happened, and the vote for leader has been cast. Congratulations to the new leader of Southend Borough Council, Councillor Ron Woodley.
The actual votes were as follows:
Cllr Woodley (IND) 31
Cllr Lamb (CON) – 18
Absence – 1
Abstention – 1
The abstention was the mayor, and the absence was Labour’s Cllr Royston, who is still recovering from an operation. All five UKIP councillors backed Cllr Woodley, which is mildly surprising. They aren’t a part of the joint administration, and I had wondered if James Moyies would be a little bitter at the failure of his pact with the Independent Party Group. It’s actually a bit unfair to blame that on the Indies — it actually comes down to lacking the numbers.
But the result means that the joint administration has taken power, and there is a now a whole new executive team in place.