Party leaders for Labour and Conservatives at Thanet council have now been chosen following the local election on May 5.
Earlier this week the Thanet Conservatives confirmed Bob Bayford as leader once again. The Kingsgate ward councillor headed up the previous administration. There were no challengers for the position.
Last night (May 10) the elected Labour Party members chose Rick Everitt as their leader. Previous leader Jenny Matterface did not stand in this month’s election.
Mr Everitt, who was a Labour councillor from 2011 to 2015, said: “It’s an honour to have been elected leader of such a talented group of new and experienced councillors. We have a manifesto which is full of good ideas for improving the lives of the people of Thanet and this will guide us in how we deal with the issues we will face in the coming years.”
The new deputy leader is Helen Whitehead, an active campaigner for disabled rights. Ms Whitehead said: “Disabled people badly need a voice in local government. As a disabled person myself I am determined to make sure that the needs of disabled people are properly considered in our decisions in council.”
The new treasurer is Helen Crittenden and the secretary is Ruth Duckworth, Alan Currie is the whip and Harry Scobie is chair.
Labour now forms the second biggest party in the council, having 20 members, while the Conservatives have 25. The Labour group includes 12 new councillors,
The Thanet Independent Councillors, led by Stuart Piper, have seven members, the Greens three and there is one Independent.
Mr Everitt said: “We are now in a strong position to be an effective opposition, but there is no majority for any group on the council and we will co-operate with other parties where we find common ground and believe them to be acting in the best interests of Thanet as a whole.”
Thanet Greens spokesman Tricia Hartley said the members would co-operate with parties on an issue by issue basis.
The Thanet council leader will be appointed on May 16. With Conservatives being the largest party this is likely to be Cllr Bayford.