Mayor says he holds no grudges

HARTLEPOOL Mayor Stuart Drummond says he is “holding no grudges” as he decides who will join his cabinet.

Mayor Drummond axed six Labour councillors from his cabinet in February over their failure to attend a council meeting to support proposals for this year’s council budget.

Councillors Jonathan Brash, Pamela Hargreaves, Ged Hall, Chris Simmons, Robbie Payne and Peter Jackson were culled after failing to back their own proposals for Hartlepool Borough Council’s 2012-13 budget.

The decision was taken after the six failed to attend a full council meeting that saw amended budget plans approved that were put forward by the Labour Group.

Mayor Drummond took on further responsibilities after the move and operated with a cabinet consisting of himself and independent councillors Cath Hill and Hilary Thompson.

But now Mayor Drummond has said he is looking to renew his cabinet after Thursday’s election and plans to talk to potential candidates next week.

He said: “It was never about kicking Labour off it. It was a decision based on the people who were on the cabinet and their decisions and course of action.

“Now we have a new council and it’s a different size and different people on there. It gives me something to think about.

“I’m going to take a few days and consider the options, I’m not one for grudges and I will make a decision based on what’s best for Hartlepool.

“I will start speaking to people next week and take it from there.”

All of the former cabinet members were re-elected as Labour had what has been dubbed a successful night to win 21 out of 33 posts.

The election saw the number of councillors reduced from 47 to 33 after a re-organisation of ward boundaries.

The number of wards were reduced from 17 to 11 and three candidates were elected in each.

It saw four members of Putting Hartlepool First elected, Conservatives took three seats and five independents won seats.

The Liberal Democrats lost their voice on the council as they won no seats in the all-out election.