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Annual Council Meeting results in change of political leadership

Date Published: 09 May 2022
Lucy Stephenson

Rutland’s Annual Council Meeting has resulted in a change of political leadership after Council Leader Oliver Hemsley (Independent) stood down. He was replaced by Lucy Stephenson (Conservative), who was elected by a majority of 18 Councillors.

Cllr Hemsley announced on Thursday 5 May that he was leaving Rutland’s Conservative Group and intended to serve as an unaligned independent councillor, while remaining in his post as Leader.

In a further announcement at Annual Council on Monday 9 May, Cllr Hemsley confirmed he was resigning as Leader and leaving the Council’s Cabinet. He will remain a Rutland County Councillor and continue to represent Langham Ward.

Following Cllr Hemsley’s resignation, Councillors attending the Annual Council meeting voted to elect Cllr Lucy Stephenson as the new Leader of Rutland County Council. Cllr Stephenson will serve as Leader until after Rutland’s next round of full elections in May 2023.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Stephenson said: 

“I feel very strongly that I have the skills to serve as Leader of Rutland County Council with a Cabinet that is representative of the Council as a whole. This is our Council. I want all Elected Members and our residents to be proud of it. We have a vision for the county that has come from our residents. Our job is now to work together to achieve this.”

Rutland’s Annual Council meeting is held in May every year to make appointments to various committees roles and other key positions.

Cllr Jeff Dale (Independent) was re-elected to serve as the Council’s Chairman. Cllr Nick Begy (Together4Rutland) was re-elected as Vice-Chair.

As the newly elected Leader of Rutland County Council, Cllr Stephenson named an alliance Cabinet made up of the following Elected Members:

  • Cllr Marc Oxley (Independent and Green Group)
  • Cllr Rosemary Powell (Independent and Green Group)
  • Cllr Karen Payne (Conservative)
  • Cllr David Wilby (Conservative)

One seat on Cabinet remains unallocated. Specific portfolio responsibilities for each Cabinet member will be confirmed later this week.

Annual Council also appointed members to six committees of Rutland County Council, before electing a chairperson for each one:

  • Cllr Alan Walters (Independent and Green) Chair of Audit Risk Committee Chair 
  • Cllr Andrew Brown (Independent and Green Group) Chair of Conduct Committee
  • Cllr Lucy Stephenson (Conservative) Chair of Constitution Commission
  • Cllr Gale Waller (Liberal Democrat) Chair of Employment and Appeals Committee
  • Cllr Edward Baines (Conservative) Chair of Planning and Licensing
  • Cllr Gale Waller (Liberal Democrat) Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee  

Following the appointments made at Annual Council, Members were asked to agree an indicative schedule of meetings for the next 12 months, including dates for future Full Council and Cabinet sessions. A number of Councillors were also appointed to represent the Council on external organisations.

Full details of public meetings and all appointments from the Annual Council meeting will be published online. Once published, the dates for public meetings can be viewed on our Meetings page.

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