The Borough Election result in Charnwood leaves the Conservatives with an increased majority - something that one might not have expected, given the difficult decisions the Coalition Government is having to make, and the pressures facing Local Government finances. What a result!!
Warmest congratulations must go to all of our recent Candidates, including those who despite actually increasing the Conservative vote, did not get elected themselves. We fought a principled campaign, based on a properly costed Manifesto, and a record of sound financial and community achievement over the past four years. We've earned the people's trust. Despite the tough times ahead, I know every elected Councillor will seek to honour that trust.
Much credit must be given to our former Borough Leader, Mike Preston, who did so much in such a very short time - witness the improvement in facilities right across the Borough, most recently in the Old Magistrates Court on Woodgate and in our Town Hall - plus of course the work with the Loughborough Echo on 'Loughborough in Bloom' and the Eastern Gateway, which we see daily becoming a reality. Retiring after a serious operation, Mike leaves behind a legacy that will always be especially his. He will be greatly missed by all of us as a friend and as a down-to-earth practical politician.
In the Council Chamber we have really shaken up the Opposition. Labour's campaign initially was desperately negative, then frenetically positive as they were forced to respond to our leaflets and In Touches. I didn't complain as I read their leaflets - after all, imitation is the sincerest sort of flattery! As a result of the election, they've radically overhauled their Leadership, with two Loughborough based Members, Cllr. Jewel Miah as the new Opposition Leader, and newly elected Cllr. Robert Sharp as their Deputy. With many of their experienced 'old guard' now retired, all this suggests seismic rumblings among the brothers and sisters in the Labour Family. Their next door neighbours, the Liberal Democrat family, have been turned out, leaving behind one solitary tenant out of five - no longer part of a Group, more a stranger on the shore!
The Conservative Group elected its new team last Monday. It is one which has considerable experience and comes from across the whole Borough. Our new Leader is Cllr. David Slater, previously Lead Member for Housing, and more recently Planning, and Deputy Leader Cllr Stephen Hampson, previously a Lead Member for Regeneration and on the Scrutiny Commission The new Cabinet will be announced shortly and be in place for Annual Council on Monday 16th May. We're delighted to see Cllr. Bernard Burr re-elected in Shepshed, particularly because Bernard becomes Mayor of Charnwood at Annual Council, and we all wish him and his wife Rose a joyful Mayoral year.
As Association Chairman may I thank all of you, members, councillors, and members of the public who supported us. It is always quite humbling to be given that trust, and we as an Association will continue to listen to everyone, and maintain that two-way dialogue so essential for a healthy democratic community. We have a Conservative Borough Council, a Conservative County Council, and, of course - last but never least - an outstanding local Conservative MP in Nicky Morgan. Together we will ensure Loughborough and our villages attain excellence in all we do.