The election of the new Mayor of Derby is not a nail-biting occasion. There is no knife-edge voting, no anxious unpredictability. Any sense of something being vaguely democratic was purely illusory. Anyone with a modicum of interest knew that it was going to be Cllr Winter as the new Mayor, with Cllr Whitby as her deputy.
The meeting went through the charade of nominees, seconders and speeches in support of the nomination. Frank Harwood was proposed by the Conservative group, but sadly, there was never any chance that he would win.
When the time came for the votes to be cast, the sound of the cameras flashing was drowned out by the whips cracking; so early in the municipal year. Despite the split in the Labour Party between those who wanted Whitby to be Mayor and those who wanted Winter, 100% of all Labour Councillors voted in favour of Cllr Winter.
Cllr Winter, in her acceptance speech, spoke passionately about the need to improve the educational and life chances of the children of the City ( she has a long history of working with children outside of her Council duties), especially those with Special Educational Needs. I hope she is able to exert some influence on this matter as many children and parents are suffering from a distinct lack of support.
Any monies that are donated during her year will be given to Derby charities.
Cllr Whitby was duly elected as Deputy Mayor through a similar “democratic” process.
Cllr Shanker, who originally nominated Cllr Pegg as the last Mayor, stood up to provide a review of his time in office in support of the Council motion to thank Pegg. This was followed up in customary fashion with a positive reflection from Cllr Barker from the Conservative group. Everything was going according to plan for the event – ceremonial, pre-ordained and positive until that is, Alan Graves, the UKIP leader stood up. He felt unable to support the motion and highlighted some issues about the Mayor’s conduct and the partial nature in which he carried out his duties. This was met with boos and jeers from the Chamber. An amendment was tabled by Cllr Graves to remove the word “impartiality” from the motion. This was voted down by all sides but caused the desired ruction. It was a moment of entertainment for the public gallery.
Cllr Pegg began to present the successes of his year. Apart from the 600 events he attended ( which I’m told is not that many over a year) he managed to raise £60,000 for charity, £50,000 of which was the result of one anonymous donation for the centre in Nepal which Pegg is involved with. The other £10,000 was split between Derby charities.
The scene is now set for the 1st Full Council meeting for the year, tonight….and, with only 1 seat majority, the Labour party will need to be very disciplined with their attendance.
Categories: Derby City Council