New faces in council’s cabinet after reshuffle

New West Sussex County Councillors outside County Hall, Chichester, after May 2017 elections (photo submitted).
New West Sussex County Councillors outside County Hall, Chichester, after May 2017 elections (photo submitted).

Two female councillors have been promoted to the county council’s cabinet after this month’s elections.

David Barling (Con, Bramber Castle), who was responsible for residents’ services at County Hall, makes way for both Deborah Urquhart (Con, Angerming and Findon), and Debbie Kennard (Con, Shoreham North).

Roger Oakley  (new vice-chairman), Pat Arculus (outgoing chairman) and Lionel Barnard (new chairman of West Sussex County Council).

Roger Oakley (new vice-chairman), Pat Arculus (outgoing chairman) and Lionel Barnard (new chairman of West Sussex County Council).

Cllr Urquhart is cabinet member for the environment, while Cllr Kennard is responsible for safer, stronger communities.

Louise Goldsmith remained Conservative leader of the county council at today’s meeting (Tuesday May 16), the first after the election earlier this month, where her party took 56 of 70 seats on the way to wiping out the UKIP group.

She said: “Can I thank everyone for their support and for my appointment. It’s a moment of great humility and emotion.”

Mrs Goldsmith (Con, Chichester West) promised to continue to ‘do her best for the council and the residents of West Sussex’.

Meanwhile Pat Arculus (Con, Pulborough) stepped down as county council chairman and was succeeded by her vice-chairman Lionel Barnard (Con, Henfield).

His deputy will be Roger Oakley (Con, Worthing East).

James Walsh (LDem, Littlehampton East), leader of the Lib Dem group, described Pat as an ‘exemplary chairman in every sort of way’.

As well as appointing the leader and chairman, the only other main business was appointments to committees which is done proportionally to the percentages of seats held by each party.

Dr Walsh pointed out that while the Conservatives had polled 51 per cent of the total votes, they held 80 per cent of the seats through the first-past-the-post electoral system.

This meant that although the Lib Dems had nine county councillors, the party only had five total slots on select committees.

He added: “I hope we will be able to find a way to address that in the coming months.”

Other changes:

Peter Catchpole (Con, Holbrook) is the new deputy leader and retains his cabinet position.

Richard Burrett (Con, Pound Hill) stays in the cabinet but is now responsible for education.

Andrew Barrett-Miles (Con, Burgess Hill North) is the new chairman of the Environmental and Community Services Select Committee, taking over from Graham Tyler, who finished second to Lib Dem Daniel Purchese in Rustington.

Meanwhile Pieter Montyn (Con, The Witterings) is the new chairman of the Performance and Finance Select Committee, succeeding Cllr Urquhart.

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