Given the proper hammering the Tories took in the recent local elections, I’ve been curious what the changes might look like in the East Hampshire District Council structure, and whether the make-up and leadership will eat the humble pie being served.
However, disappointingly but in typical Tory fashion, the fastidious grip on the status quo means we are left with effectively no change.
As it went down at the inaugural council meeting in a few bullets:
- Respectful acknowledgement on various points of procedure from all sides, good to see.
- Cllr Tree awarded with deputy leader for voting in Tory chair and Cllr Millard as leader. WBCP (Whitehill and Bordon Community Party) also awarded with deputy chair. This effectively allows Tories to form cabinet, with WBCP being given two seats.
- Some acknowledgement by Cllr Millard that the Tory position is weaker and has said he will extend the olive branch.
- Some pretty disrespectful comments from Cllr Millard suggesting naivety of new councillors.
- Some recognition from Cllr Tree that the WBCP hold the balance of power, but what I witnessed was more of a cosying up to Cllr Millard.
- Cllr Millard attempted to blame and distance himself from the Parliamentary Tory party.
While the WBCP supported the Tories in the process of forming the leadership and cabinet, it will be interesting to see how much actual support is given on other matters, or whether the WBCP becomes more of a thorn in Cllr Millard’s side – especially if Cllr Millard fails to accept it’s actually the poor performance of EHDC that people are fed up with, not necessarily the national Tory party.
So Cllr Tree, in his power broking, can choose stasis or progress. Let’s wait and see what he chooses.
By Conrad Cockburn
Pulens Crescent, Petersfield