BRENTWOOD has a new mayor... and the Tories aren’t happy.
Lib Dem Councillor Vicky Davies was installed as the town’s mayor for the upcoming year at last night’s annual council meeting.
A vote took place last week between all 37 members of Brentwood Council, where Councillor Davies beat Tory Councillor and last year’s Deputy Mayor Mark Reed by 19 votes to 18.
Councillor Davies was put forward as the candidate for the new accord administration, made up of the Lib Dems, Brentwood First, Labour and independent councillor Roger Keeble - who has been appointed Deputy Mayor.
Under normal circumstances, a deputy mayor would be promoted the mayor position. But a change in administration following a disastrous night at the polls for the Tories three weeks ago has seen the change.
Although mainly a civic role, in the council chamber, the mayor has the casting vote, which is vital for the new administration.
Louise McKinlay, Tory leader and former leader of the council, said she was “appalled” by the “shameful” actions of the accord.
She said: “This is a vote that should never have taken place, being driven purely by political gain. I'm appalled at the way the alliance have conducted themselves.”
Ms McKinlay added Mr Reed had been an exemplary deputy and was worthy of the full role.
She said: “The move by the opposition to contest the role of Mayor is unprecedented and purely for political gain to ensure they have the casting vote at full council.”
Mike Le Surf, Labour leader, said: “It’s democracy in action. If they had the extra member it’d be the same. Sometimes this happens in politics.
“We need to have that Mayor as someone from the accord. The electorate spoke and this is the hand that has been dealt.”
Councillor Davies said she hopes to be a credit to the town in her role.
She said though she feels bad for Mr Reed, she’s sure he’ll be Mayor in the coming years.
The Pilgrims Hatch councillor also dismissed the Tories claims of foul play.
She said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be appointed; it’s such an honour and something I wasn’t expecting.”
Mrs Davies, who’s been on the council for more than 20 years, added: “During the time we were in control we had three opposition mayors. We believed it should be given to people based on length of service and their duty to the town.
“But since the Tories took over there has never been a cross party mayor.”
Mr Reed said he was disappointed not be elected as Mayor, especially as he has acted as mayor frequently during the past year whilst Mayor Madeline Henwood was ill.
He said: “I’m obviously disappointed, and it’s sad that the Mayor has become politicised. I’ve spoken to other mayor’s around us and they’re angry about this too.
“We take the role seriously and all that comes with it, and it’s a shock that all of that has now been thrown out of the window."
Mr Reed added: “I wish Vicky luck in her roll though, I’m sure she’ll be a very good Mayor.”