Hucknall leads new council

FOLLOW THE LEADER -- Coun John Wilmott, who has been reinstated as deputy leader of the council
FOLLOW THE LEADER -- Coun John Wilmott, who has been reinstated as deputy leader of the council
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THE BACKBONE of Ashfield District Council’s main decision-making body will have its roots in Hucknall — after councillors from the town landed many of the top jobs.

The political landscape in Ashfield and Hucknall was changed considerably at May’s local elections.

Labour went from the main party in a coalition with Independent members to taking a full stranglehold on power.

The party jumped from holding nine seats to taking 24 of the 33 available.

In Hucknall, it was a sea of red as Labour candidates were elected to all nine positions available.

Now, after the council’s annual meeting, the town will have an overwhelming presence on the all-Labour, six-member Cabinet.

For three of those picked represent Hucknall. They are Couns Chris Baron, Trevor Locke and John Wilmott.

Coun Baron has made a return to politics after previously being a Hucknall member on both Ashfield and Notts County Councils. He has been appointed lead member for customer and corporate services.

Coun Locke, who returned to the council at a by-election last year and then retained his seat last month, will hold the purse-strings as lead member for finance.

While Coun Wilmott, who is Hucknall’s longest-serving member, is reinstated as deputy leader.

Even the position of leader is rooted in Hucknall. For Coun John Knight (Lab), grew up in and previously represented the town. He is now a member for Kirkby West.

Coun Knight could now go on to serve four years as the most senior member of the council under a revised leader-and-Cabinet system agreed in December. He has held the post since Liberal Democrat Jason Zadrozny was ousted in 2009.

Under the old system, leaders served a one-year term. Now it is four years, although councillors could vote to remove the leader earlier.

Also at the annual meeting, Sutton East councillor, May Barsby, of Labour, was elected chairman for a record fifth time. She paid tribute to Mick Parker (Ind), the outgoing chairman, who lost his seat at the election.

“I think a letter should be sent to him from the council to show our appreciation,” said Coun Barsby, who chose the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Air Ambulance as her charity for the year.

Another Hucknall councillor, Ken Knight (Lab), was elected vice-chairman.