Cornwall Council has elected its new leader as Helston councillor Alec Robertson.

Mr Robertson, elected to Helston north ward, has also been elected as leader of the Conservative group, the largest political group on the council. He was proposed as leader today by Jim Currie, deputy leader of the Conservative group, who said that the council needed to get back up to speed and that it was “vital” that it had a fully inclusive leader. “I believe that Alec has these qualities,” he said. He was seconded by Neil Burden, the leader of the Independent group.

Thanking his colleagues for their support, Mr Robertson said being elected as the first leader of the new Cornwall Council was both a great honour and a great responsibility.

In his first official speech to the council Mr Robertson said the Conservative group would now be working in partnership with members of the Independent group and Mebyon Kernow, to prioritise support and improvement of vital front line services, cut out wasteful expenditure and complete openness and transparency.

“There is a lot to do,” he said. “With apologies to Winston Churchill, this is the not the time for ‘jaw, jaw’ but for ‘war war’ – and not amongst ourselves. We have a front line to protect and support, a war on waste to win and a culture of secrecy to defeat.”

The former county councillor for Breage, Germoe and Crowan, Mr Robertson returned to his hometown of Helston three years ago. A former lieutenant in the Royal Navy, specialising in diving and demolitions, he came back to Cornwall in 1993 as landlord of the Queen’s Arms in Breage and now manages Helston’s Godolphin Club. A keen sportsman who enjoys distance running and watching rugby, he is married to wife Lowenna and has six children.

Mr Robertson appointed the following members to the Cabinet: Corporate support: Jim Currie (Feock and Kea ).

Economy and regeneration: Carolyn Rule (Mullion ).

Children: Sally Bain (Fowey).

Stronger communities: Lance Kennedy (Bodmin East).

Adult care: Armand Toms (Looe East).

Highways, transport and planning: Graeme Hicks (Redruth South).

Housing: Mark Kaczmarek (St Day and Lanner).

Health and wellbeing: Neil Burden (Stokeclimsland).

Waste and environment: Julian German (Roseland).

Pat Harvey, councillor for St Columb, was elected as chairman of the council, with John Dyer, for Chacewater and Kenwyn, elected as vice chairman.