Melt-down in Alan's bid for deputy spot

PUBLISHED: 11:38 12 May 2006 | UPDATED: 21:52 28 May 2010

Geoff Harper

Geoff Harper

FORMER leader Councillor Alan Melton was soundly beaten this week in his bid to regain a senior position within the ruling Conservative group on Fenland District Council. After putting his name forward to become deputy leader, he was beaten by 23 votes to

Alan Melton

FORMER leader Councillor Alan Melton was soundly beaten this week in his bid to regain a senior position within the ruling Conservative group on Fenland District Council.

After putting his name forward to become deputy leader, he was beaten by 23 votes to 10 on Tuesday night in favour of the current deputy leader, Councillor Fred Yeulett.

Council leader Councillor Geoff Harper, elected unopposed, said the first he heard of Cllr Melton's bid for the deputy leadership was on Sunday after his return from holiday.

Cllr Harper declined to comment on the race for the deputy leadership "since I would have concurred with the result either way".

Fred Yeulett

He added: "That's democracy isn't it?"

Cllr Melton said after the meeting: "I shall, of course, continue to give 100 per cent support both to the leader and to the Conservative Party.

"I was the first to congratulate Cllr Yeulett on his re-election."

There will be few surprises in Cllr Harper's line-up for the coming year at Fenland Hall, except perhaps for inclusion into cabinet for the first time of Whittlesey's Councillor Ken Mayor.

Ken Mayor

Cllr Mayor, chairman of one of two overview and scrutiny panels, will take the cabinet portfolio previously held by former councillor Pop Jolley, that of quality organisation.

Cllr Harper has sidelined the other overview and scrutiny panel chairman, Councillor Jan French, and appointed Wisbech county and district councillor Simon King to chair the new overview and scrutiny committee.

Councillor Martin Curtis will remain chairman of the planning committee and, following a rule change, cabinet member Councillor Kit Owen will also now chair the licensing committee.

"There was a problem with the constitution which has now been altered so Cllr Owen can return to the licensing committee," said Cllr Harper.

Details of the changes were being announced last night to the annual meeting of the council.

They also include the setting up of five development groups to enable more back bench councillors to contribute to decision making and policy formulation.

"Backbenchers were in danger of having no serious input with our cabinet style of government," said Cllr Harper.

"This will go a long way to redress that situation."

He also expected the new groups would ensure controversial decisions, such as tourism or public conveniences, would be scrutinised more thoroughly before being made public.

Opposition councillors will have representatives on these groups "but since the Tories have 92 per cent of the seats on Fenland, there will be only one opposition member on each group", said Cllr Harper.

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