New leader of Hartlepool Borough Council says he's 'tried to ensure everyone willing is sat around the top table for the better of the town'

Councillors have elected a new Hartlepool Borough Council leader during a full council meeting.

Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 10:25 pm
Coun Shane Moore, new leader of Hartlepool Borough Council.
Coun Shane Moore, new leader of Hartlepool Borough Council.

Newly elected Hartlepool Borough Council leader Coun Shane Moore has said he is thankful people have put trust in him after receiving backing from councillors.

Coun Moore, leader of the Independent Union and Conservative group following a coalition between the two parties, was selected as the new council leader by councillors at the annual meeting of the council.

Coun Paddy Brown and Coun Dave Hunter.

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Coun Mike Young, deputy of the group, was voted as deputy leader.

Coun Paddy Brown, leader of the Labour group, was the other candidate put forward as leader of the council, but he received only 10 votes to be council leader, with 22 councillors voting against him, meaning Coun Moore was elected to the role.

Although losing his position as council leader, Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher was selected to be the new chair of the regeneration services committee.

Coun Moore said he has worked extremely hard to work with all parties on the council and is pleased councillors have put trust in him as leader.

Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, former council leader who is now chairman of the regeneration committee.

He said: "My initial reaction is I'm thankful that people have put their trust in me.

"We've worked extremely hard to bring people from all parties and all groups together as best as we can.

"Not everyone will be happy with decisions made but we've tried to ensure everyone willing is sat around the top table for the better of the town, I hope everyone will see that.

"It might not be popular, but trying to get people from all the different parties together and distributing committee and chair positions in keeping with our own council constitution, that's never been done before.

"If we can get the basics right, everything else will follow from there, but we’ve got to get the basics right first."

The only councillors who voted for Coun Brown to be leader were the nine Labour councillors present at the meeting, and Putting Seaton First councillor James Black.

The Labour Party previously had a majority on the council, but now has just 10 councillors after election losses and a further three councillors resigning from the party post-election.

These include 2018/19 Council leader Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, who alongside Coun Marjorie James and Coun Ann Marshall joined the Socialist Labour Party.

Although losing council leadership, Coun Akers-Belcher was appointed as chair of the council regeneration committee, which was greeted by jeers from residents in attendance at the meeting.

Coun Akers-Belcher faced opposition for the role from Coun James Black, from the newly formed Putting Seaton First Group, but the former leader was voted in after 15 councillors voted in favour of each candidate, and two abstentions.

Those voting in favour of Coun Akers-Belcher included new council leader Coun Moore and deputy Coun Young, while Labour Party councillors voted in favour of Coun Black.

The casting vote went to the newly elected chair of the council, and ceremonial mayor, Coun Brenda Loynes who had voted for Coun Akers-Belcher.

Coun Loynes, of the Independent Union and Conservative Group, was voted by councillors to be the ceremonial mayor of the council, and its chair, for the coming municipal year, receiving more votes than Labour's Coun Dave Hunter, who was also put forward for the role.

Independent Coun John Lauderdale was voted by councillors to be deputy mayor, and vice chair of the council.

The meeting was attended by 32 of the 33 councillors, with Coun Jean Robinson submitting apologies in advance for not attending.