WHITEHILL Town Council this week elected a new leader following the resignation of Alan Waterhouse.
Mr Waterhouse (Whitehill, Pinewood) remains a town councillor but stood down as leader for, what town-council officers described as, “personal reasons”.
Following a unanimous vote, councillor Tony Muldoon (Whitehill, Deadwater) was elected as leader at the town council’s meeting on Monday evening.
Mr Muldoon, a Conservative, now leads a Tory-majority council.
In May, former leader Mr Waterhouse, a Liberal Democrat, was voted into the unusual position of leading a council made up mostly of an opposing party.
This was made possible by some Conservative councillors voting for him, instead of remaining loyal to their colours. The argument was that, at town-council level, party alliances matter less than they do further up the government ladder. Rather, it was argued, individual traits and leadership acumen are what count.
At the time, Tory councillor Ian Georgii took exception to this stance and described voting against the party as a “devious” act of treachery that was “beyond the pale”.
However, this week Mr Muldoon was nominated by councillor Chris Mitchell, one of the Conservatives who previously voted against councillor Adam Carew in May. Mr Carew had been nominated to lead the council for a second term, but lost out to Mr Waterhouse by seven votes to six. This created animosity in the council chamber.
Mr Muldoon was also one of the Conservatives who voted for a Liberal Democrat leader, so his unanimous election seems symbolic of a more unified town council.
“I am honoured to be selected to serve as the leader of Whitehill and Bordon Town Council,” Mr Muldoon said.
“I will continue to serve our community to the best of my ability to carry on all the good work that we, as a Conservative-led council, have achieved.”
The town council is made up of nine Conservatives, five Liberal Democrats and a UKIP representative.
The role of leader is a political position, whereas the role of chairman, who is also the town mayor, is a civic position with a community-orientated remit.