Labour councillor Antony Hunt re-elected as leader of Torfaen council
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
Labour councillor Anthony Hunt has been re-elected as the leader of Torfaen council.
The Panteg ward councillor was voted in to lead the authority at the council’s annual meeting on Tuesday, with just one vote against.
Cllr Richard Clark was elected deputy leader and will also serve as the cabinet member for education.
Cllr Hunt thanked members for their support and said he would work hard to “repay the trust” of councillors and residents.
“I do not think this is a time for celebration,” he said.
“It’s more a time to re-double our efforts, to work hard to address the challenges that we face.”
Cost of living crisis
Cllr Hunt, who was first elected leader in December 2016, said those challenges include the cost of living crisis, social care pressures, improving education and providing more affordable housing.
He said the key to tackling those issues would be “working with our communities”.
“I think the lesson of the last two years has been the strength of our communities when we work with them,” Cllr Hunt said.
“We do not have the most affluent communities, perhaps, but we have communities with a huge well of public spirit and the willingness and the ability to help each other.”
Two new faces have also been appointed to the cabinet.
Cllr Sue Morgan was appointed cabinet member for resources, and Cllr Peter Jones has responsibility for corporate governance and performance.
They replace former councillors David Yeowell and Kelly Preston, who stood down at the local elections.
The other members returning to the cabinet are Cllr Hunt, Cllr Clark, Cllr Jo Gauden, Cllr Fiona Cross, Cllr David Daniels and Cllr Mandy Owen.
Three political groups make up the council following the local elections – Labour with 30 members, the Independent Group with seven members and Torfaen Independent Group with three members.
The leader of the Independent group is Cllr Alan Slade, while Cllr Ron Burnett leads Torfaen Independent Group.
Meanwhile, Cllr Rose Seabourne was appointed the presiding member – whose role is to act as chairwoman at full council meetings – and Cllr Stuart Ashley was chosen as the deputy presiding member.
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