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Mayor Dave Hodgson Finalises Cabinet Appointments as Tories Break Pledge to Work Together in Residents' Interests

October 26, 2009 8:01 PM
Dave Hodgson

Mayor Dave Hodgson has completed the appointments to his Cabinet

Mayor Dave Hodgson has finalised his Cabinet, appointing Cllr David Sawyer (Lib Dem) as Children's Services Portfolio Holder and Cllr Nicky Attenborough (Independent) to the Adult Services Brief. The Conservatives will not sit on the Cabinet after they performed a shocking u-turn dictated from Tory headquarters in London designed to seek political gain over the best interests of Bedford Borough residents.

In his speech following the declaration of the Mayoral By-Election the defeated Conservative candidate Parvez Akhtar pledged that the Conservatives would support the new Mayor and, in a reference to the first directly elected Mayor of the Borough the late Frank Branston, said that 'we owe it to Frank.' Now, having initially told Mayor Dave Hodgson that they wish to serve on his Cabinet, the Tories have suddenly rejected the offer with no explanation or attempt at negotiation. The move comes after pressure from Tory Party Headquarters in London that, regardless of what is considered best for Bedford Borough locally, the Tories should seek maximum political gain by staying on the sidelines and opposing the Council at every turn.

Commenting, Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "I am delighted to confirm that I have completed the appointments to my Cabinet. I have put together an extremely strong team with a united purpose of delivering excellent services for local residents while keeping council tax bills down.'

"It is deeply regrettable that the Conservatives have broken their pledge to work together with me in the interests of Bedford Borough residents. I have been offered no explanation as to why they have suddenly performed a u-turn and flatly rejected the chance to work together with me and those of all parties and none. However, it appears to be an open secret that this decision was dictated to local Conservatives from Tory Party Headquarters in London. "

"They appear to believe that it will benefit their general election chances if they oppose the activities of the Council at every turn as we seek to work together to boost the local economy and support residents during these difficult economic times. I am absolutely determined to ensure that this cynical political move will not succeed in preventing us from achieving the very best for local residents."

Following the appointment of Cllrs Sawyer and Attenborough to the Mayor's Executive, the full list of Cabinet Members is as follows:

Cllr Charles Royden Environment and Deputy Mayor

Cllr Michael Headley Finance

Cllr Nick Charsley Rural Affairs and IT

Cllr Sue Oliver Housing and Planning

Cllr Will Hunt Community Safety

Cllr Barry Huckle Arts and Leisure and External Trading

Cllr David Sawyer Children's Services

Cllr Nicky Attenborough Adult Services

The Mayor holds responsibility for Regeneration, Partnerships and Diversity