Arthur Moran - brexit did not impact on CEC result

The leader of Cheshire East Council’s Independent group Arthur Moran has stepped aside ahead of a new era of no overall control, writes Stephen Topping.

Cllr Arthur Moran, of Nantwich North and West, has been replaced in the role by Cllr Craig Browne, who represents Alderley Edge.

The pair were two of 19 independent members to be elected last week as the Conservative group lost its overall majority of the council.

It puts the independent group in a crucial position, as its 19 votes could be used to support the Conservatives or Labour over the next four years.

Cllr Moran, who is also a Nantwich Town councillor, said: “I thought it right and proper that some of our brilliant younger members of the group took us forward in this very important situation.”

Cllr James Nicholas, Bollington member, has also replaced Cllr Barry Burkhill as deputy leader of the independent group.

craig browne independent

Craig Browne

Both Cllr Browne and Cllr Nicholas have played major roles in the independent group’s push to ‘change Cheshire East’ from a cabinet system to a committee one in the past year.

And Cllr Moran hopes they will now lead the charge towards CEC adopting the new governance style as it heads into no overall control.

He added: “From my point of view, our bottom line is we want the committee system brought in from the start of the municipal year in 2020.

“We want a more open and transparent committee system, and we want to see a fairer system with the allocation of chairmen for scrutiny and other committees, which can be brought in from May 22.”

The change of leadership is the second to be made following last week’s local elections.

Cllr Rachel Bailey announced at the Conservative group’s annual meeting on Tuesday that she would be standing down from her role as group leader on May 22.

She will be followed by Cllr Janet Clowes, who recently served as cabinet member for adult social care and integration, and Cllr Burkhill believes the Conservative group has made a good choice.

“I’m pleased for Janet because she is a very hard worker,” he said.

“Although she is a Conservative she does work hard for the borough, she’s very trustworthy – I like Janet.

“So I am pleased that – whoever we are going to be working with on the council – Cllr Clowes will be the Conservative group leader.”

Cllr Clowes will face a vote for whether she should be elected as CEC leader at full council on May 22.

It will be the first test to see how the council could work together over the next four years, with 34 Conservatives, 25 Labour members, 19 independent councillors and four Liberal Democrats all having a say.

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