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Tory ‘old guard’ set to be swept aside

Former Mayor Mary Green could carry out a clean sweep of council roles
Former Mayor Mary Green could carry out a clean sweep of council roles
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A troubled council could see a seismic shift in power tonight if the “old guard” are swept aside following a power struggle within the ruling Conservative group.

South Ribble could see a new leader, a new cabinet and a new committee line-up voted in at the authority’s first business meeting of the municipal year.

Former Mayor Coun Mary Green, who won a leadership contest within the Tory group recently, is expected to be elected to head the council, replacing Coun Peter Mullineaux who announced last month he would be standing down after less than two years.

Coun Caroline Moon was voted in as her deputy and she is expected to figure in a younger cabinet which could also feature Councillors Warren Bennett and Michael Green, the leader’s son.

A council member, who asked not to be named, welcomed the shake-up saying: “It’s long overdue. Changes are sure to be good for the council because we a change of direction.

“Bringing in younger people with new ideas and a new energy is much-needed, especially after the events of the past couple of years or so. We’ve just been going round in circles.”

New committee appointments have already been announced, with less than half the chairs retaining their roles.

The shake-up is the latest upheaval for the council following the taxi licensing scandal and follows bitter in-fighting within the Conservative group. When Coun Green was voted in as group leader last month she pledged to heal the wounds which have torn apart the Tories over the past two years.

“We want change, we want fresh ideas,” she said.

Call for unity

Coun Mary Green said: “My main aim is to unite the (Tory) group - I think that’s vital.

“It’s about teamwork now. It’s not been a team for a while.”