Narrow miss for council’s top job

Coun John Wilmot
Coun John Wilmot

A Hucknall councillor who resigned from the Labour Party narrowly missed getting a key position on the Labour-controlled Notts County Council.

Opposition members backed an amendment calling for Coun John Wilmott to become chairman of the economic development committee at Thursday’s full meeting of the council.

Nottinghamshire County Council.

Nottinghamshire County Council.

Amid much tension, the vote was dramatically tied at 33-33 and it took a casting vote by the council’s newly-elected chairman, Coun Sybil Fielding (Lab), for the position to go instead to Coun Diana Meale (Lab), of Mansfield.

Coun Jason Zadrozny, currently an Independent, voted for him saying: “Although I frequently disagreed with Coun Wilmott on political grounds, I can say hand on heart that he always did the best he could as an Ashfield councillor. I think he would be an excellent choice for the important job of economic development chairman.”

Coun Wilmott quit Labour after being de-selected at this month’s Ashfield council elections. He founded Hucknall First Community Forum with Coun Trevor Locke. They were among ten forum candidates who stood for Hucknall seats in the Ashfield elections. Although none of them won, they amassed a total of 3,773 votes after only six weeks of canvassing. While Coun Wilmott no longer has a seat on Ashfield Council, he remains a member of the county council.

Opposition county councillors strongly criticised Labour for denying them adequate representation on its committees for the coming year. They successfully pressed for the amendment so that the suggested position for Coun Wilmott could be debated. Coun Wilmott said: “I would have been happy and honoured to serve in that capacity and I would have been able to do it.” He thanked the councillors who had supported him during the ‘spectacular’ debate.