Listen Live

Tories back at Mid Devon top table

The deed is done (courtesy: Mid Devon District Council)

Lib Dems fall out with independents

The party with the largest number of councillors on Mid Devon District Council have inched towards achieving some of their ambitions after getting back into the ruling cabinet group.

The Conservatives have been frozen out of decision-making since the last set of local elections. Although they have more seats than any other group, their 17 councillors are outnumbered by Liberal Democrats, Independents, and Green Party councillors. 

But now the Lib Dems haven't been able to reach agreement with the independents about Mid Devon's participation in the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan. That initiative is all but dead anyway now that East Devon District Council, which is run by a coalition of independents, Lib Dems and Greens, has decided it doesn't want to ask voters what they think about the plan.  At the last full Mid Devon council meeting, the Liberal Democrats put forward a rival amendment to that proposed by the leader, Bob Deed.  

That seems to have been the final straw that broke the relationship. Four Liberal Democrat cabinet members on Mid Devon District Council were quickly out of the cabinet. Radio Exe understands they have been sacked, but a sober statement from the council makes no mention of this. Lib Dems Graeme Barnell, Alex White, Luke Taylor, and Simon Clist are out, to be replaced by Conservatives Richard Chesterton, Bob Evans, Andrew Moore and Colin Slade who is mayor of Tiverton.

Leader Bob Deed (pictured) said: “Everyone knows that, upon becoming leader, I had sought participation from across the Council to secure the best set of expertise and experience in cabinet roles. While the Conservatives did not feel able to take up this offer from the start, I am pleased that we now have the opportunity to welcome their skills into the cabinet.

“I firmly believe that working alongside our neighbours and colleagues in the wider area is the right way to achieve the best outcomes for Mid Devon. Collaboration across willing partners must be the starting point for effective Local Government and, following Wednesday’s Full Council meeting debating competing proposals from within the Cabinet, the four Liberal Democrats have now stood down.

“I thank them for their contribution during the last 15 months and look forward to continuing to deliver the best outcomes for Mid Devon, as we face the major challenges of potential planning changes, devolution, and post-EU transition, alongside our continued efforts to support our businesses and communities through covid-19.”

The new cabinet is:

Cllr Bob Deed (Ind) – Leader
Cllr Bob Evans (Con) – Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing
Cllr Andrew Moore (Con) – Cabinet Member for Finance
Cllr Richard Chesterton (Con) – Cabinet Member for Planning & Economic Regeneration
Cllr Colin Slade (Con) – Cabinet Member for Environment
Cllr Dennis Knowles (Ind) – Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing
Cllr Elizabeth Wainwright (Green) – Cabinet Member for Climate Change
Cllr Nikki Woollatt (Ind) – Cabinet Member for the Working Environment and Support Services

More from Local News

Listen Live
On Air Now Radio Exe - Non Stop Playing Hot In The City Billy Idol