Victory by four votes for Clark in the battle to see who becomes the next leader of Fenland District Council

Cllr Steve Tierney and Cllr John Clark.

Cllr Steve Tierney and Cllr John Clark. - Credit: Archant

John Clark has retained the leadership of Fenland District Council.

After a frenetic few days the ruling Tory group voted 19 to 15 in favour of keeping the veteran councillor as their leader.

Results of the secret ballot, conducted by Conservative councillors at a private meeting at Fenland Hall within the past few minutes, shows he won majority support.

His opponent, Steve Tierney, came from nowhere to within a handful of votes of causing one of the biggest upsets in recent political history.

Cllr Clark, having achieved a thumping majority following last week’s local elections, looked unassailable in the following days.

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But his approach for support from Cllr Tierney, that included the offer of a (rejected) cabinet post, led to an extraordinary 48 hours.

Cllr Tierney had rejected cost cutting measures suggested by Cllr Clark – including the possibility of pay parking and a few for collecting brown bins- and then threw his own hat into the ring to become leader.

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Intense lobbying suggested he might pull off a surprise victory but on the night Cllr Clark secured a four vote majority.

The result will mean most if not all of Cllr Clark’s former cabinet will retain their jobs.

In other changes, expected to be confirmed, it appears likely that outspoken March Councillor Jan French will be replaced as chairman of the scrutiny committee by county and district councillor Fred Yeulett.

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