Councillor Mike Baldock has been nominated to replace Swale Council’s outgoing coalition leader, Roger Truelove, with the nomination seconded by Monique Bonney.
The council is run by a “rainbow” coalition of five parties and has also voted to abandon a party-led cabinet structure in favour of a committee system that is more inclusive.
Wednesday’s vote saw Baldwin pick up 29 of 43 votes at Swale House as nine Conservatives voted against him and four abstained.
Councillor Baldock said, about his takeover:
“Roger has set a very high standard to follow. He showed that differing groups could work constructively together.
The move towards a new committee system is an exciting opportunity to make sure every elected councillor, regardless of party-affiliation or location, can be genuinely involved in issues affecting their residents.”
Cllr Baldock also confirmed that Monique Bonney would be his deputy, whilst outgoing leader Truelove showed support for his replacement:
“Mike and I go back a very long way. As a schoolboy, he helped me retain Borden for the Lib Dems by running the committee room all day.”
Cllr Mike Baldock has been elected as the new leader of Swale Borough Council pic.twitter.com/i5UGSkirwg— SwaleBoroughCouncil (@SwaleCouncil) April 27, 2022
Baldock, 54, is used to cross-party collaboration, having had experience with a number of political parties. After joining the Young Liberals in 1982 he got involved with the Green Party following the Chernobyl Disaster. In 2004 he joined Labour to support Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Derek Wyatt before leaving them for UKIP as they aimed to influence the nation to break away from the European Union. Having achieved that goal, he made the decision to represent his residents as an Independent, stating:
“I just want to do my best for Swale.”
The cabinet remains unaltered for the time being, with former leader Truelove maintaining the finance portfolio with Derek Carnell as his deputy.