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New Tory leader plans shake-up
CHANGES are expected to be made to the council’s cabinet after the appointment of David Renard as the leader of the Conservative Group.
He said: “There was a robust contest and I am delighted that the group has shown faith in me to take them forward.
“We have still got a number of weeks before Rod Bluh steps down in April and between now and then I will be busy, including providing a cabinet to put before the full council.
“Rod has proved an incredibly good and strong leader and he has a lot to be proud of.
“I have been part of the council since 2002 and have sat in Rod’s cabinet during his time as leader so I can bring some stability as well as a wealth of experience.
Coun Renard will now be the nominee for Leader of Council at its next full meeting on Thursday, April 11.
Coun Renard, 53, worked in the travel and tourism industry and then moved into training and development.
He was elected for the Haydon Wick ward in 2002, was given the council’s housing portfolio in 2004, taking on extra responsibilities in adult social care and health integration in 2006, before moving over to children’s services in 2010 and becoming the deputy leader in 2012.
The former college lecturer has already said that there will be changes to the cabinet after a number of high profile councillors requested to take a back step.
He said: “There will be a few changes in the cabinet. “Rod and Mark Edwards have already expressed an interest to take a step back and on Monday night councillor Tomlinson also wanted to take a step away from cabinet. So the next cabinet will have to be a mix of experience and some new blood.
“It will be a difficult time for the party. There were a number of difficult circumstances at the last election with boundary changes giving some advantage to the Labour group and the budget wasn’t particularly well received nationally so that didn’t help.
“Then there was also a larger than expected vote for UKIP, so I think the Conservative group did extremely well to hold onto a majority.”
The news was announced on social networking site Twitter on Monday evening and Coun Renard immediately received a large amount of support from his fellow councillors.
Coun Bluh has been active on the social network site and Coun Renard has said that he will also continue using it to engage with voters.
He said: “I think I have been on Twitter longer than Rod, but as leader I probably think he had more interesting topics to tweet and write about.
“I will continue to use social network sites to engage fully with the voters.”