New leaders of Hartlepool council set to be decided at AGM next week

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

The new council leader and ceremonial mayor will be confirmed next week as part of the Hartlepool Annual Council meeting.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s annual meeting next week will see the make-up of the chamber confirmed following the fallout of the local elections at the start of this month.

Counciilors Tom Cassidy, John Tennant and Shane Moore

Counciilors Tom Cassidy, John Tennant and Shane Moore

There are set to be big changes in the chamber after the Labour Party lost its majority, with the party now having 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.

A new coalition was also formed between the Independent Union and the Conservatives, making them the largest group on the council with 11 councillors.

Coalition leader Coun Shane Moore said it was a coalition he ‘believes is large enough to lead Hartlepool Borough Council’ after initial talks.

Coun Moore said the coalition has since been joined by Coun Lee Cartwright, Veterans’ and People’s Party councillor, and there was interest from some Independent councillors about joining the group but the situation was still ‘fluid’.

However, the council remains in No Overall Control as no group has the 17 councillors needed for a majority.

The Labour Party has also since elected a new leadership team, with Coun Paddy Brown becoming party leader and Coun Dave Hunter becoming deputy leader.

The new leader and deputy leader of the council for the municipal year will be formally announced at the annual meeting.

The meeting will also involve the election of the new ceremonial mayor for the year, and a deputy, and responsibilities of the mayor will involve chairing the full council meetings.

The annual meeting will also involve councillors being appointed to sit on the committees and forums ran by the council, alongside appointments to joint committees and other outside bodies, such as Cleveland Police and Cleveland Fire Authority meetings.

At its conclusion, the meeting will then adjourn and resume again on Thursday, May 23, for the purpose of the ceremonial part of the meeting.

The annual council meeting will take place at the Civic Centre in Hartlepool from 7pm on Tuesday, May 21.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service