Deputy leader steps down

County HallCounty Hall

Posted on: 24 May 2018

The leader of Devon County Council has paid a fulsome tribute to his deputy who is stepping down.

Dawlish county councillor John Clatworthy has been the deputy leader of the

Cllr John Clatworthy

Conservatives in Devon for 11 years and took over as deputy leader of the council and finance chief when the Conservatives won power at County Hall in 2009.

He will continue to serve Dawlish from the backbenches.

Council leader John Hart said: “John Clatworthy has been a loyal deputy and friend and he has made a considerable contribution to the success of this administration.

“I will miss his wise counsel and his eye for detail. Just last week, we announced our budget was in the black for the 27th successive year.

“Since 2009 we have faced unprecedented austerity and made some difficult decisions.

“But I think the best tribute we can pay John is to reflect that he has worked closely with the county treasurer and her staff to pilot a budget of over £1 billion into the black in every year he has been in charge.

“He has also been instrumental in streamlining the council’s property portfolio and reducing our debt burden and consequently what we have to ask hard-pressed council taxpayers to fund in interest payments.”

Liberal Democrat leader Alan Connett said Mr Clatworthy was an honourable man with a sharp sense of humour who always helped if he could.

Labour leader Rob Hannaford said: “John is a profoundly decent and kind man who has always given me support.”

Independent leader Frank Biederman said: “John, you’re a gentleman.”

Devon’s new deputy leader will be Hatherleigh and Chagford councillor James McInnes, who is currently responsible for schools and children’s services.

He will retain that portfolio in addition to his new responsibilities. Mr McInnes was elected unopposed.

He said: “I am honoured and delighted to have been asked to take on this position.

“Devon County Council plays a key role in many people’s lives through its work in education, care for the young, elderly and vulnerable and provision of roads and infrastructure.

“It is vital that we provide the best possible services for our residents in an effective and economic way and fight their corner in Westminster and Whitehall.

“It will be a privilege to take on this new challenge but, at the same time, I will continue to represent my own voters in Hatherleigh and Chagford and serve them to the best of my ability.”

Ashburton and Buckfastleigh councillor, Stuart Barker, will take on responsibility for finance after overseeing economy and skills for the past year.

Salcombe councillor Rufus Gilbert is promoted to the Cabinet and will take on the brief for economy and skills as well as being responsible for the county’s relationship with the Local Enterprise Partnerships or LEPs.

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Posted in: Politics