Ousted Cornwall Council leader Alec Robertson resigns as Tory council boss
Deposed Cornwall Council chief Alec Robertson was last night set to be replaced as leader of his Tory group.
The former local authority leader was ousted by a vote of no-confidence by the full council last month and replaced by fellow Tory Jim Currie, following a "bizarre" election in which he accepted a nomination from the opposition Liberal Democrats.
Mr Robertson lost his job after refusing to back down on controversial privatisation plans but initially refused to give up his party leadership.
Now he has conceded defeat and a meeting held at the regular Cornish Tory group headquarters, at Fraddon off the A30, was last night voting to appoint his successor.
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The "darling" of the rebel faction which opposed Mr Robertson and ultimately cost him his job, Truro councillor and now cabinet member Fiona Ferguson, was the bookmakers' favourite to land the leadership.
Former cabinet member under Mr Robertson Steve Double, who resigned alongside three other executive members just moments after the shock vote to ditch the leader, was standing against her.
Dave Biggs was standing to become deputy leader, unopposed as the meeting began, with elections for secretary and treasurer also on the agenda.
And there was a return to the fold for Scott Mann, who spectacularly triggered the long demise of Mr Robertson when he resigned as his deputy earlier this year.
Mr Mann, who penned a scathing attack on the "authoritarian style" of Mr Robertson as a parting shot, was set to become chief whip, or liaison officer, as the post is formally known.
A reliable source told the Western Morning News Mr Robertson resigned by email more than a week ago but there had been hopes among his remaining admirers that he may still rally support and lead the party.
The source said yesterday's meeting signalled the end of a long and divisive battle within the Tory ranks.