Thanet council gets new leader – and a new Labour administration

Labour's Rick Everitt takes over as council leader from Conservative Bob Bayford

Thanet council has a new leader – and a new minority Labour administration – following a vote of no confidence in Conservative leader Bob Bayford.

The motion was put by Thanet Independent Group leader Stuart Piper asking for the vote of no confidence and, an added amendment, for  the removal of Cllr Bayford from office.

Cllr Piper likened Cllr Bayford’s leadership to a captain who was rudderless, making numerous references to the Titanic.

He added: “It would be crass to suggest there have been no successes at the helm, it all started so well.”

But he said: “(Cllr Bayford) made promises he did not keep. Mortal blows have been struck to the reputation of this council.”

Cllr Bayford hit back, saying it was a personal attack orchestrated by Cllr Piper’s ‘puppet master in Ramsgate,’ understood to be a reference to campaigning by Ramsgate Action Group member Steve Coombes. Cllr Piper denied the accusation.

The move was branded ‘shameful’ by Conservative member Lesley Game. Green councillor Becky Wing (pictured) told the chamber she found the behaviour ‘shocking’ and said there should be “a kinder politics, not throwing mud at each other, but listening to each other.”

She added that the council needed “A strong leader, I don’t care what political persuasion, and they need the courage to bring together a coalition cabinet of the strongest people in the room.”

A vote saw 29 in favour of removing Bob Bayford from leadership, 22 against and one abstention.

Nominations were then immediately made for a new leader. Cllr Bayford was again put forward, Labour leader Rick Everitt was nominated and a nomination was made for Conservative Ash Ashby – who refused the option of being voted in to the role.

The new vote, which has two abstentions, was won by Labour’s Rick Everitt, meaning not only was Bob Bayford ousted but the Conservatives lost control of the council.

Cllr Everitt said Labour did not bring the motion to remove Bob Bayford but did believe his party was best placed to lead Thanet council. He said: “We will try to work as collaboratively as we can with every member of the council, whatever group they are in.”

The new leader said Thanet council’s problems were not all down to one person, that the area was in the grip of “a shortage of jobs, a shortage of homes” and cuts in funding.

He added: “Putting Labour in the driving seat can provide better leadership but won’t solve everything.”

Collaborative working will be a necessity as Labour holds just 20 of the council’s 56 seats. Conservatives hold 25, 7 Thanet Independent Group, 3 Green and 1 Independent.


    • Hallelujah! We are finally free of this most ineffectual TDC leader! Now we need a credible candidate to oust him from his comfortable Kingsgate seat!

      • Dr Richard Symonds would make an excellent councillor for the Kingsgate ward, unfortunately too many in the ward stuck with Bob Bayford and now Kingsgate is stuck with Bayford as their ward councillor until the next elections in nearly 4 years time.

  1. Phew, that nearly didn’t happen. Let’s hope the issues that have been sat on get dealt with effectively, efficiently and with expediency.

  2. Bayford had to go, given he was the most ineffectual leader in Thanet District Councils history. When he was handed control in 2018 he promised (standing on the floor of the Council chamber) a 10-point plan within a month of taking office. Conveniently for him, no-one remembered the promise, and so no plan was ever published. Unfortunately the Tories have no one in their ranks with any leadership qualities, hence Labour’s Everett taking the helm. Sadly, after four good years TDC, after tonight’s events, has returned to the toxic days of old.

  3. However a note of caution
    1. Tories were in favour of aviation what now with a draft Local Plan still not accepted
    2. Pleasurama is still a “building” site
    3. The Tories accepted TDC spending £1.5M on two concrete pontoons
    4. The Port is still losing £1M a year
    5. The DCO on Manston has yet to be accepted. If NO then what happens to the Brownfield site?

    • Manston Airport has been bought and is now owned by RSP (RiverOak), who want to open an airport. It also has a covenant on it now, saying no housing on the airfield. So, regardless of the DCO result it will remain an airport. Also, if the DCO is accepted, most of the Planning will already have been agreed, so TDC will have very little input – thank goodness.

      • Calamity I have a copy of the Land Registry Deeds as of last Wednesday. Whoever is yanking your chain is telling you lies. There are NO restrictive Covenants on the land forbidding the building of houses.
        Spend £3 and get a copy and look for yourself
        Why are Airport supporters so gullible I wonder

      • There is no covenant saying there cannot be houses on Manston.
        There I’d a covenant that says if RSP want to sell the land (eg for housing development) they cannot do so without SHP’s ( the previous owners) approval.
        Didn’t believe everything that the failed solicitor and embezzled Tony Freudmann says.

  4. Never a dull moment in thanet as they say watch this space for the next instalment. As another Ramsgate resident I to hope this time things will be done and not sat through all of thanet. I also hope that the councillors will be able to put differences aside and pull together for the better of thanet.

  5. Adieu Bob Bayford and not before time! New ideas are needed at TDC! Good to see Karma in action! How the mighty have fallen! Good riddance!

  6. Ok people, the last Labour Admin left debts of £14,200,000…… lets help them to re-assure our THANET populace, that this does not happen again.
    Mr Bayford broke several agreements with the T.I. Group, so it is of no wonder that he lost their support.
    Let’s see what our new Admin can do!
    I am very pleased that Tim Willis has returned to Office. May be some changes there too, to THANET top brass! (?)

    • The last Labour administration did not leave debts of £14.2M. UKIP paid down those debts but much was historical and left by Ezekiel then Bayford himself

  7. I would like to see how this figure of £14.2m in terms of debt comes from.All Councils have debt, some have more than others;Canterbury for instance is up to its neck in debt.However it is also about ability to pay.If I borrow £2m my ability to repay is risky on the other hand George Soros borrows £2bn with far less risk.Banks will set a risk premium for each debt. So Canterbury is in the Soros position and Thanet isn’t. Even so Thanet is relatively debt free, because it has money shovelled at it for Margate and it ignores Ramsgate’s needs.
    As for dysfunctional,toxic governance,I would hardly call trying to sack the deputy CEO,defenestrating a sitting Cllr on dubious grounds, and maladroit manoeuvring over the Broadstairs Neighbourhood Plan, sparkling examples of good governance.

  8. A positive move.
    But with the same government in London cutting off the supply of funding to local Councils all over the country, ANY Party will struggle to revive Thanet.

    We are due to have a General Election soon. If the Conservatives are returned to power, or return in coalition with the Lib Dems, we will simply face the same shortage of money to address our local problems. The Tories are determined to reduce public services to the bare bones so that the wealthy can have more cuts to their taxes. And more of us have to pay for private health and education.
    England has become a vast Right-Wing experimental laboratory to see how far they can reduce our hopes and expectations of democracy. As any Party running Thanet will have to operate with minimal funding, the voters will quickly grow disillusioned with any new faces on the Council. And may then lose interest in democracy itself, leaving the Tories as the “natural” rulers, in government, the economy, the public services.
    “Why vote?” we will say, “they are all the same!” And we will leave it up to the usual suspects,the ones with the money, the public school accents and the support of the tabloid papers.
    And if there is any hint of resistance, this can be snuffed out by appeals to “patriotism” and the “Dunkirk spirit”.

  9. For the life of me, I cannot see why people in this most deprived area of the UK keep voting for right-wing politicians. Their ideology of privatisation of everything is demonstrably failing. Look at the disaster of rail franchise: twice the East Coast Main Line has been taken back into public ownership when private enterprise failed; look at the Probation Service, now returned to public ownership because private enterprise cocked up big time; consider why (if private enterprise is so good) there is a need for OFWAT, OFGEM and so on.

  10. Come on Keefogs, the greedy bankers had to be repaid for all the £billions they gambled away didn’t they, so be fair we had to pay them back with ten years, or more of ruthless cuts to public services didn’t we? The new Labour administration at TDC can’t do any worse than the Tories who have been playing fast & loose with the public, promising to re-open Manston as an airport, which will cause massive destruction of Ramsgate/Town/Harbour businesses with low flying cargo planes approaching at a height of just 300 meters, descending to 100 meters at Nethercourt! Apart from the air and noise pollution, this will devalue property, and make it impossible for schools to teach, and cause nightmares because they will be flying in, upwards of two or three an hour, 24 hours a day, Duuuurh! So TDC, get planning approval to build 4,000 houses, including social housing at Manston instead, with new clinics, schools, and leasure facilties, this is what Thanet needs, it will create jobs, including Hi and Low Tech the same as at Discovery park. Air pollution alone is now one of the greatest killers in Britain, so we need a Cargo only airport like we need Donald Trump as world Dictator!

    • You’re right Dumpton. An airport near Ramsgate would be disastrous for the town’s residents. What’s needed at the ex-airport is a mixed-use development and much better public transport.

  11. TDC can’t actually force the current owners (whoever’s they are) to do anything.
    That particular horse has bolted, and we can thank UKIP and the tories for that particular shambles.

  12. I have no idea why this is now being suddenly being described as a ‘Labour’ controlled Council any more than the previous one was a ‘Conservative’ Council. Neither has an overall majority so require the support of the minority parties to get any decisions approved.

    • David Riddle, Bayford administration was saw cabinet members from the Conservative party responsible for their departments, now we will have Labour councillors carrying out that work.

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