Leader of Cornwall Council Alec Robertson ousted in dramatic style
Cornwall Council leader Alec Robertson was removed from his post in dramatic style this afternoon.
A motion of a vote of no confidence in the Tory leader was carried by 63 votes to 49.
The vote had been triggered following Mr Roberston's decision to ignore an earlier council vote opposing plans to part-privatise dozens of council services.
There were dramatic scenes in the council chamber, particularly at one point when security guards were called into action after cabinet member Mark Kaczmarek accused Lib Dem group leader Jeremy Rowe of being a 'back-stabber".
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Council chairman Pat Harvey took exception to the term and ordered Mr Kaczmarek to stop and sit down, but when he refused she called for security.
After a short adjournment they returned to the chamber and Mr Kaczmarek apologised to Mr Rowe.
It was a bizarre diversion from the main topic of the day which was the vote of no confidence.
A long debate saw councillors from all sides speaking, with those in favour of the motion raising Mr Robertson's recent performance, particularly in relation to issues such as the shared services project and the waste contract.
On the other side, supporters of Mr Robertson pointed to his hard work and the achievements which have been made under his leadership.
Armand Toms said that Mr Robertson had made 'amazing achievements' considering where the council had been, while Graeme Hicks said the achievements of the council had not been recognised due to a 'hostile local media'.
Some councillors questioned the need for the vote with tory councillor John Fitter accusing the Lib Dems as using it to start their campaign for next year's local elections.
Speaking after the vote Graham Walker, the independent councillor who seconded the motion said “I am pleased with how it turned out but sad for Alec. I do recognise the hard work he has done, but he got it wrong.
“He ignored the wishes of the council on the shared services project and today he has paid the price for that.”
Pat Harvey and Neil Burden paid tribute to outgoing leader, thanking him for his hard work over the last three and a half years.
We asked cabinet member Steve Double for a quote after the meeting but he declined and said that Mr Robertson would also not be speaking to the media.
Former Cabinet member Jim Currie was elected as Mr Robertson’s successor this afternoon at a meeting where four cabinet members instantly resigned following the result.
Mr Currie was put forward for leader of the council by independent councillor Bob Egerton who earlier tabled the vote of no confidence in Mr Robertson.
Conservative councillor Mike Eathorne-Gibbons put forward cabinet member Neil Burden (Ind) as candidate.
However in the vote Mr Currie came out on top with 49 votes to Mr Burden’s 46. Five councillors abstained from the vote.
Immediately after the result was announced Cabinet member Julian German (Ind) said he resigned with immediate effect and was followed by Graeme Hicks (Ind), Chris Ridgers (Con) and Steve Double (Con).
The council's webcast, which is live streamed on www.thisiscornwall.co.uk, has had nearly 2,000 viewers this morning, with #ccwebcast trending third nationally on Twitter.
• For reaction from the meeting see the West Briton on Thursday.