North Somerset Council's rainbow coalition promises new era of transparency and openness

PUBLISHED: 16:00 17 May 2019

North Somerset Council's new look executive. Top row: Don Davies, Mike Bell, Mark Canniford, Ash Cartman. Bottom row: Catherine Gibbons, Bridget Petty, Caritas Charles, James Tonkin,

North Somerset Council's new look executive. Top row: Don Davies, Mike Bell, Mark Canniford, Ash Cartman. Bottom row: Catherine Gibbons, Bridget Petty, Caritas Charles, James Tonkin,

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The new leaders of North Somerset Council have promised to deliver more transparency, as a new era under a rainbow coalition begins.

On May 14, the authority met for the first time since the local elections earlier this month, which saw a 12-year Conservative reign come crashing down amid gains for independents, Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Greens.

The vote on May 2 left no party in overall control of the council, but a deal has been agreed to create a coalition - which saw Pill representative Don Davies named leader and the Tories left in opposition.

It marks a seismic shift in direction for the authority after more than a decade of Tory rule, with reviews of several of the Conservatives' policies already planned.

Cllr Davies, an independent, also told councillors a review of the council's constitution will begin imminently with the executive governing system set to be scrapped.

He said: "I would like to thank all who put their trust in me.

"I also thank the voters who asked us to do something different. We will be doing something different over the next four years.

"We intend to do a constitutional review. We were asked to be more open and transparent in the way we work, and the current constitution is a sham in that regard."

Mike Bell, Lib Dem councillor for Weston Central ward, will serve as deputy leader and will be executive member for adult social care and health.

He said: "I'm very pleased to propose Cllr Davies as leader.

"He is a sensible and reasonable person who comes up with sensible suggestions and works across parties. I expect him to continue in the same vein."

Long Ashton Lib Dem Ash Cartman has been appointed executive member for finance, while Nailsea's James Tonkin will handle planning and transport.

Green leader Bridget Petty, member for Backwell, was named executive member for environment and climate emergency, and Caritas Charles, of Portishead Independents, has taken on leisure, culture and tourism.

Mark Canniford, Lib Dem representative for Weston Hillside, will oversee business, economy and employment, and Labour's Milton councillor Catherine Gibbons will be in charge of children's services.

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