High drama as Alec Robertson ousted and Jim Currie voted in as new Cornwall Council leader (From Falmouth Packet)
Alec Robertson ousted and Jim Currie voted in as new leader
The leader of Cornwall Council, Alec Robertson, has been removed from his post following a vote of no confidence today.
Councillors have voted for Conservative Jim Currie, the former deputy leader of the council before his resignation last week, to take the hot seat - leaving privatisation plans at the council in disarray.
Mr Robertson was ousted by secret ballot with 63 votes in favour of the motion to remove him and 49 votes against.
Councillor Bob Egerton, openness and transparency champion, proposed the leader’s removal following his decision to push ahead with the part-privatisation of council services against the wishes of the majority of council members.
In an extraordinary meeting of Cornwall Council today (Tuesday), called to discuss Mr Robertson’s future, Mr Egerton said: “The constitution allows the leader and the cabinet a great deal of discretion to make decisions on behalf of the council.
“However, if a significant number of backbenchers feel that the leader has gone too far in exercising his discretion then we do have this option, within the constitution, of calling for the removal of the leader.”
Mr Robertson was compared to famously ill-advised tenth century English monarch “Ethelred the Unready” at the meeting and Liberal Democrat councillor for Penzance east, Ruth Lewarne, weighed in saying the proposed privatisation of council services would “see Cornwall sold down the river.”
Last week, after the no confidence vote had been tabled, Mr Robertson backtracked on his initial comments saying he would respect the whole council’s decision at a vote to be held on October 23 – a full seven days after the vote on his future.
To this, Mr Egerton said: “What he seems to be saying is that having led us up the hill and shown us what he considers to be the Promised Land, if we don’t like the look of it he will now lead us back down again.
“I feel that if we want to be lead back down the hill, then we should be led back down by somebody who believes that that’s the right thing to do. Not somebody who has just changed his mind at the last moment.”
Despite passionate support from certain members, including Cornwall councillor for Penryn Mary May and all the portfolio holders led by councillor Julian German, a majority of 14 ousted Mr Robertson at the full vote.