“I hope that we can all work together in our individual ways for the good of our wards and the good of this district.”
That was the message from Cllr George Illingworth as he took over as chairman of Warwick District Council at last night’s annual meeting.
He will chair a council made up of five different parties and the controlling Conservative and Whitnash Residents Association alliance will need his casting vote as there are an equal number of councillors in opposition made up of Lib Dems, Greens and Labour.
Cllr Illingworth (Con Kenilworth Abbey and Arden) said: “Thank you for the confidence you have put in me during what could be an interesting year.
“We have 27 new members - a lot of people with a lot to take in. We all knew before the election that because of the number of people retiring, there would be big changes but I don’t think any of us would have anticipated a change on the scale that we’ve just seen.
“There are lots of new people and I’m sure they have lots of new talents which they will bring to this council. I realise they have a lot to pick up and I’m sure the experienced councillors will give all the help we can to help them discover what they have let themselves in for.
“This is a time of great uncertainty, not only here in this council but nationally as a whole. An awful lot of things need to be resolved. We will have our differences and there are more parties than usual on the council but I hope that we can all work together in our individual ways for the good of our wards and the good of this district.
“I’m looking forward to some very interesting meetings over the next few months.”
Cllr Illingworth needed to use his casting vote within minutes of taking the chair as Cllr Martyn Ashford (Con Aylesford) was elected vice-chairman, beating Cllr Sidney Syson (Lib Dem Leamington MIlverton) by a single vote.
In proposing the new chairman, Cllr John Cooke (Con Kenilworth Abbey and Arden) highlighted Cllr Illingworth’s extensive engineering career, long service with the Territorial Army where he reached the rank of Colonel and his role as a leading Meccano builder with fire engines a speciality.
And he added: “I believe the single area that has most demonstrated all his skill is HS2. He has been the ‘go to’ person on all aspects of HS2 where his skills and abilities coupled with encyclopaedic knowledge have become legendary.”