Monmouthshire council elect Labour chair and Tory vice chair to ‘encourage collaboration’
A new chairwoman and vice-chairwoman of Monmouthshire council have been elected from different political parties in a move to “encourage collaboration” and joint-working.
Newly elected Labour councillor Laura Wright was voted in as the new chairwoman at the council’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday.
Meanwhile Conservative councillor Ann Webb will serve as vice-chairwoman for the second year running.
Cllr Wright, who represents the Grofield ward, was nominated by the council’s new Labour group leader, Cllr Mary Ann Brocklesby.
Cllr Brocklesby said: “Her training as a psychotherapist and experience of engaging with people in a fair, compassionate and non-judgemental manner means Laura will be an inclusive, fair chairwoman, encouraging us all to engage and debate with respect and kindness.”
Cllr Wright thanked colleagues following her election at Tuesday’s meeting.
“I will do my very best to repay this honour as chair of Monmouthshire County Council,” she said.
The Grofield ward councillor has chosen to vary her consort for her year of office to reflect family, caring and work commitments that residents face in their daily lives.
“By not having the same person with me at every event reflects our ambitions to be a modern, flexible council,” she said.
“I know that many of you will have jobs, families, caring responsibilities – so by not always having the same consort I believe this shows that we can find ways of being inclusive, a representative group of people.”
Conservative group leader, Cllr Richard John, nominated Cllr Ann Webb as vice-chairwoman.
Cllr John said having a chairwoman and vice-chairwoman from different political parties was “in the spirit of joint-working”.
A nomination was also put forward for Labour councillor Peter Strong to be the vice-chairman.
However Cllr Webb was narrowly elected, with 24 members voting for her and 22 for Cllr Strong.
Conservative and Independent councillors voted in favour of Cllr Webb.
Cllr Frances Taylor, leader of the Independent group, said: “In the spirit of collaboration, joint working and looking to the future, we very much wanted to support a model which would perhaps encourage collaboration.”
Outgoing chairman, Mat Feakins, said: “It has been my great honour and pleasure to have represented Monmouthshire as chairman of the county council over the past 12 months.
“While the civic side was very much hampered by the ongoing pandemic, there were still many highlights.”
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