Mole Valley's cabinet line-up finally unveiled
THIS is the district council's new cabinet, which was finally confirmed this week two months after the local elections.
No group won an overall majority on May 3, and the Conservatives and Independents united to elect Independent councillor Chris Townsend as leader of Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) on May 22.
Mr Townsend was determined to create a "three-party executive" and offered three positions on his cabinet to Lib Dems – but all three were rejected.
At a cabinet meeting on Tuesday evening, Mr Townsend announced his executive team, made up of three Conservatives and three Independents including himself.
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Mr Townsend, who represents Ashtead Park, said: "It is with considerable regret that I report that the Lib Dems have refused to take part in an all-party executive for MVDC.
"This prevents those of their members who are willing to accept responsibility from joining the executive, and deprives the administration of their expertise.
"Common sense suggests that working together now for all the residents of Mole Valley would have been a positive and sensible way forward.
"As a result of that decision and the need to have a fully-functioning executive without further delay, I have announced a new executive that will take us forward constructively, responsibly and positively."
Former council leader James Friend is now deputy leader and member for environment; Councillor Vivienne Michael will take responsibility for customer services; Councillor John Northcott for planning; Councillor Charles Yarwood for communities and assets; and Councillor Simon Ling for finance.
A preliminary executive was formed with just three members last week after Lib Dem leader David Preedy and councillors Phil Harris and Dave Howarth turned down positions.
Mr Townsend gave them until noon on Monday to reconsider their decision but all three declined, a party position they say they agreed "a month ago".
Mr Howarth said: "The most disappointing thing was that we were very clear with the leader that we wouldn't join his proposed three-party executive.
"We did not feel there was enough trust or unity between us and the Conservatives, but we would have been willing to work alongside the Independents, as we are the largest group.
"In our position as the opposition we will do our very best by the council, but I would certainly have preferred to have been sitting on the executive rather than sitting outside the tent."