The chairman of the audit committee at Cornwall Council was elected on Tuesday morning (July 30) – as the result of a coin toss.

A vote to select the chairman was tied at this morning’s meeting and with no chairman to have a casting vote the decision was left to the fate of a flip of a coin.

With the tails side showing face up Conservative councillor David Harris was elected into the chairman’s role.

The strange mode of selecting a chairman occurred due to apparent confusion over the start time of the meeting.

Committee meetings at Cornwall Council usually start at 10am, but this meeting of the audit committee was scheduled for 9.30am.

At the start of the meeting two councillors due to attend – independent member Loic Rich and Liberal Democrat councillor David Ekinsmyth – had not arrived.

This meant that it was up to the remaining eight councillors to start proceedings.

After apologies for absence the election of chairman was next on the agenda – Cllr Harris was nominated by his Conservative colleagues while Lib Dem councillor Joanna Kenny, who was chairman of the committee last year, was also nominated.

Cllr Harris then asked for a secret ballot to be held to choose the chairman which was granted after at least a third of the members said they wanted a secret vote.

After slips of paper had been collected in with the relevant votes it was revealed that there was a tie – 4-4. And monitoring officer Melanie O’Sullivan said that with no chairman to have a casting vote it the matter would have to be decided by the toss of the coin.

There was another tied vote in the election of a vice-chairman with Tory Philip Desmonde nominated alongside Cllr Kenny.

But this time, with Cllr Harris in the chair, he was able to have the casting vote and chose to support his fellow party member.

It means that, unusually, a committee at the Liberal Democrat/Independent controlled Cornwall Council has Conservative chairman and vice chairman.

On Twitter some suggested that in future the council should consider deciding tied votes with a round of rock, paper and scissors or even an arm wrestle.