New Lib/Lab dominated Cabinet announced by Mayor Dave Hodgson

Mayor Dave Hodgson

Mayor Dave Hodgson has announced his new Cabinet, which once again features no Conservative representation.

The Lib Democrat are now the largest group on the Council following their six gains in the 2 May Council elections.

Following the changes, Mayor Dave’s Cabinet represents groups comprising over two-thirds of the seats won across Bedford Borough in the Council elections.

This means while Lib Democrat, Labour and Independent Councillors are represented, there will again be no Conservatives in the cabinet.

“All of the members of the new Executive have a track record as Councillors,” said a spokesman for the Mayor.

“Mayor Dave is intent on hitting the ground running in tackling the key issues for Bedford Borough… in the face of ongoing government funding cuts.”

The new Members on the Cabinet include previous Liberal Democrat Group Leader and former Adult Services Committee Chair Cllr Wendy Rider, who takes up the post of Executive Member for Adult Services.

Cllr James Valentine joins his Labour colleagues Cllrs Colleen Atkins and Louise Jackson following his appointment as Executive Member for Education and Children’s Services.

There is also a return to the Cabinet for Independent Cllr Doug McMurdo, as Executive Member for Leisure and Culture.

A new post has been added to the Cabinet, dedicated to the High Street and Planning. This position is held by Cllr Henry Vann (LibDem).

“I am delighted to announce this incredibly strong team to help take the Council forwards,” said Mayor Dave.

“I want to thank all of the outgoing Cabinet Members, each of whom made a huge contribution to our record of saving services in the face of brutal government funding cuts and getting the best for all communities across Bedford Borough.

“The new administration has the right mix of talent, continuity and experience to enable us to face the challenges ahead and keep saving services, creating jobs and protecting our environment.”

Commenting on the exclusion of Conservative representatives, the Conservative group leader, Cllr Graeme Coombes said: “The Mayor’s Executive offers more of the same, with Labour again propping up the Liberal Democrats.

“We will continue to hold the administration to account and push forward the Conservatives’ vision for the Borough.

“During the election campaign the Conservatives set out the need for a coherent strategy for the town centre and measures to support our businesses including two hours free parking every day of the week.

“In the last decade there has been a lack of energy, leadership and focus from the Mayor in meeting the challenges posed to our High Street.

“We welcome the belated decision to appoint an Executive post for the town centre and we urge the Mayor to engage properly with businesses and residents to address the significant reduction in visitor footfall last year.’

The Bedford Borough Council Executive now looks like:

  • Mayor Dave Hodgson (Lib Dem): Mayor and Executive Member for Economic Development, Rural Affairs and Partnerships
  • Cllr Charles Royden (Lib Dem): Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Environment, Highways and Transport
  • Cllr Colleen Atkins (Lab): Executive Member for Community Safety, Housing and Regulatory Services
  • Cllr Michael Headley (Lib Dem): Executive Member for Finance
  • Cllr Louise Jackson (Lab): Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing
  • Cllr Doug McMurdo (Ind): Executive Member for Leisure and Culture
  • Cllr Wendy Rider (Lib Dem): Executive Member for Adult Services
  • Cllr James Valentine (Lab): Executive Member for Education and Children’s Services
  • Cllr Henry Vann (Lib Dem): Executive Member for Town Centres and Planning