New West Northamptonshire Council leader thanks suspended predecessor at authority's first annual meeting
Councillor Jonathan Nunn went on to say 'there is an expectation from the public that we now knuckle down and we get on with the job'
The new leader of West Northamptonshire Council paid tribute to the work of his currently suspended predecessor at the authority's first annual council meeting last night (May 20).
Councillor Jonathan Nunn was elected to lead the council at the meeting held at Northampton Saints' Franklin's Gardens - the first in-person for more than a year since the start of the Covid-19 restrictions, costing more than £8,000.Cllr Nunn thanked Cllr Ian McCord who is currently suspended from the Conservative Party while it carries out an investigation into complaints made about him.
He said: "I would like to start that, if I may, by paying tribute to someone who has worked incredibly hard for the last 12 months, and that's my colleague and friend, councillor Ian McCord, who, whilst running his own council, as many of us have, has worked hard and put huge time, commitment, dedication and effort into bringing us to where we are.
"Without that work, we would not be in the good shape that we are and Ian, I am extremely grateful to you. Thank you very much indeed."
A round of applause followed before Cllr Nunn went on to say: "Our success relies on working together and collaboration.
"That extends also to respectful and supportive collaborations with our wider partners in the public, private and the voluntary sectors.
"We will come together at meetings like this and we'll do a little bit of politics in that without doubt.
"But actually there is an expectation from the public that we now knuckle down and we get on with the job."
He went on to say: "We are safe and legal and we will continue to be. Let's stop using that expression.
"We are doing the boring well and we will always make sure we will.
"But surely our narrative now must be to talk more about our aspirations, talk more about our bold ambitions and above all to being to deliver them."
Cllr Gareth Eales, the new leader of the Labour group on the council, congratulated Cllr Nunn on his election but said he was disappointed that no opposition members were on the Children's Trust board and called for further discussions on the issue.
He said he was also concerned the leader was doing two jobs as he was also serving as the interim portfolio holder for economic regeneration.
Cllr Nunn replied: "In reference to the Children's Trust, all I would say to Cllr Eales is, please judge me not by whether you can or can't but there are some clear things, constitutional matters in the hands of government, they just prevent us at the moment.
"Judge me more by what I've done in the last day or two to try and make that happen, than that, and let's make sure that we find ways of all councillors feeling a level of comfort over what the Children's Trust is doing."
He went on to say: "Economic development regen will in no way be a poor relation, I promise you that.
"We have a little more admin to do around our cabinet but we will be firing on all cylinders."