Out with the old - and in with the new

Former Mayor Mary Green having a clear out
Former Mayor Mary Green having a clear out
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New Tory leader Coun Mary Green may have pleaded for unity - but the warring factions on South Ribble Council are showing little sign of laying down their weapons.

What she hoped would be a smooth transition to a fresh hierarchy for the troubled authority has turned out to be anything but as hostilities continue.

Coun Green was only elected as the council’s new leader - the third in under two years - by the slenderest of majorities at the first business meeting of the municipal year after opposition parties voted against her and three members of the Conservative “old guard” failed to show up at all.

When it came to her selection of committee chairs, one of her Tory choices was voted down, with one Conservative even defying a three-line whip to oppose the appointment.

And to top it all the new leader announced her new seven-strong cabinet and then had to reduce it to six when one of the top team had to be removed on disciplinary grounds.

Unabashed, Coun Green said of her appointment: “The council is on a significant transformational journey and we have strong foundations in place to really move forward at pace.

“I want to really push forward with our vision of being a council that is recognised for being innovative, forward-thinking and financially self-sufficient, while putting people at the heart of everything we do.”

The former mayor’s electionfollowed a power struggle within the Tory group. Coun Peter Mullineaux decided to stand down and in the leadership ballot that followed Coun Green beat previous leader Coun Margaret Smith to be elected. Coun Caroline Moon, the Conservative group’s new deputy leader, has now joined the cabinet, with Coun Michael Green and Coun Warren Bennett also being given roles at the top table.