Bury Conservatives are hoping to ensure a reinvigorated party after electing a new Group Leader following Labour’s surprise Council election victory.
Councillor Roger Brown, of the Tottington ward, was selected unanimously on a week after their defeat, succeeding former Leader of the Council Councillor Bob Bibby, who retired from front-line politics.
The Conservatives held overall control of the Council from 2008 but lost their majority last year, and a win in the recounted Ramsbottom ward took Labour to an overall majority of one.
Councillor Brown said: “Under my leadership, the Conservatives will ensure that the Labour Party are prevented from undermining what we have achieved over the last four years.
“We shall ensure at all times that the best interests of the people of Bury will remain our top priority in opposition, as they were when we were in control of the Council – including protecting services, jobs and Council tax payers money.”
He will head the 20 Conservatives left on the Council, with Labour’s Councillor Mike Connolly succeeding as Leader of Bury Council.
Councillor Michael Hankey was elected as Group Deputy Leader, while Councillor Yvonne Creswell, former deputy to Councillor Bibby, will serve as Bury’s Mayor in 2011/2012.
The outgoing Councillor Bibby defended his record, arguing that the Bury Conservatives had not lost the election, but had seen national issues turn electors against them.
He pointed to the new police and fire stations, the Fusiliers and Transport museums and the Rock and Knowsley Place developments.
“These are just a few of our achievements and I am proud of having been the Leader of the Council and of such a committed group of Conservative Councillors,” he said.
“We will be holding the Labour administration to account and keeping a watchful eye on the budget making sure that Bury is not left in the same disastrous financial state that Labour left the country in.”
David Nuttall, MP for Bury North, said: “The Conservatives had worked hard to start to deal with the problems caused by the huge and unsustainable budget deficit left by the last Labour Government which has inevitably resulted in additional financial pressures being placed on local government.
“Now the Conservative Group is in opposition they will carry out their duty to scrutinise the Labour administration and under the new leadership of Councillor Roger Brown I know they will undertake their duty with determination and vigour.”