Sacked councillors noticeably absent in the chamber as new leader takes control at Fenland District Council

19:42 08 May 2014

Cllr Alan Melton at Fenland Hall today

Cllr Alan Melton at Fenland Hall today

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Three councillors closely associated with outgoing leader Alan Melton have been sacked from their positions at Fenland District Council by Councillor John Clark.

It emerged tonight that not only has Wimblington councillor Pop Jolley lost his Cabinet role, but Cllr Clark has also removed Chatteris councillor John Chambers as chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee.

Cllr Clark has also removed veteran Chatteris councillor Florrie Newell from the chairmanship of the governance committee which looks at financial and risk control.

The changes mean Cllr Clark can ‘reward’ March councillor Jan French – whose recent switch of allegiance saw a fresh challenge to Cllr Melton begin- with chairmanship of the overview and scrutiny committee.

And removing Cllr Newell means a partial return to the front bench for Councillor Kit Owen.

It was widely expected he might return as chairman of the planning committee but with an external review due to report in the next few days (which will be critical of the planning department’s performance) Cllr Clark is playing a wait and see policy.

There’s also a major role for Councillor Sam Hoy of Wisbech, appointed to the chairmanship of the conduct committee. Previous incumbent, Councillor Fred Yeulett and a close friend of Cllr Clark, is back in cabinet.

Those sacked by Cllr Clark were noticeably absent from today’s council meeting – including councillors Simon King, Jolley and Chambers. Cllr Newell was also absent but at home looking after her sick husband.

Other absentees today included Councillor David Connor of Doddington – who had been expecting a role in the new administration.

Cllr Clark was proposed as leader by Cllr Melton who thanked his successor “for the way he has conducted himself through this process. Democracy has shown itself to work properly within our group.”

Cllr Melton spoke of moving to a “new era; personally I would like to thank John for his kindness, courtesy and respect before and since last week’s leadership election”.

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