Two head-to-head in leadership race
ATWO-HORSE race is underway to decide the next leader of Cheshire East council.
Conservative Cabinet members Rachel Bailey and Janet Clowes are going head to head in the hope of replacing Michael Jones as the next leader of Cheshire East after he announced his resignation last month.
Current deputy leader David Brown also threw his hat into the ring when nominations ended last Friday (January 8) but he announced yesterday that he was pulling out to leave a clean fight between councillors Bailey and Clowes.
The two remaining candidates will have been looking for support from their Conservative colleagues this week ahead of a party meeting tomorrow (Thursday) when the next leader of the Conservative group will be picked.
This is ahead of the full Council meeting on Thursday, February 25 when all 82 Cheshire East councillors will vote on who will be the next council leader, but as the majority group the Conservatives have the major say.
Janet Clowes said she wants to bring ‘far more openness and transparency’ in the council.
Coun Bailey said: “I
will believe I can bring stability and connectivity within the group.”
The leadership race comes after Coun Jones announced his resignation last month.
On pulling out of the leadership race, coun David Brown told the Express: “Michael Jones resigned to try and ensure unity in the part.
“He didn’t want a battle of blue on blue and part of my decision is to confer with that and move forward.
“I’m deputy leader and will continue to be.
“If I’d have got in as leader there would have to be another election for deputy.
“With elections, people start getting into groups and factions.
“Now it’s a straight fight between the two female candidates.
“It will be decisive, a cleaner fight, I would split the votes.
“It’s far cleaner to have a straight leadership race and I can carry on as deputy and we can get on with the job.
“Part of my role is highways and there are lots of crucial infrastructure projects at critical times. The new leader will have my full backing.”
l● Cheshire East Council’s headquarters. The role of council leader became vacant with the resignation of Michael Jones, inset