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Cornwall Council 'old guard' out as Tories select rebel darling Fiona

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 26, 2012

Fiona Ferguson

Fiona Ferguson

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Ousted Cornwall Council chief Alec Robertson and the last of the Tory "old guard" in Cornwall was swept away as grassroots councillors opted for female leadership.

Fiona Ferguson – the "darling" of the rebel faction within the Conservative group which ultimately cost Mr Robertson his job – has been named the group leader in the county.

The election on Friday evening brings to an end months of bitter and divisive infighting and also elevated two other women to senior positions in the council group.

Troon and Beacon's Morwenna Williams has been made treasurer and Joan Symons, from St Ives, secretary, which means women outnumber men in senior roles.

Mrs Ferguson, a Truro councillor who worked as a partner at law firm Slaughter and May prior to election, easily defeated former deputy leader Steve Double, a Robertson supporter who resigned his cabinet position following the leader's sacking in October.

A source at the meeting told the Western Morning News Mrs Ferguson "won by a mile", though the result was not formally announced, and said the group could now move on after the divisions of the past few months.

"Fiona said she wants to listen to everybody and get them more involved," the source added. "Hopefully this means there will be more democracy."

Mr Robertson lost his job after refusing to back down on controversial privatisation plans, but initially refused to give up the party leadership.

He was replaced as council leader by fellow Tory Jim Currie, who intends to step down at the election in May.

Mrs Ferguson has said she does not want to lead the council, leaving the door ajar for Mr Robertson, who told members at Kingsley Village he would not stand as leader of "this group" again but did not rule out a return to the top council job.

Dave Biggs is deputy leader, and there was a return for Scott Mann, who spectacularly began the demise of Mr Robertson when he resigned as his deputy earlier this year. Mr Mann is now party whip.

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  • Helston123  |  December 07 2012, 5:27AM

    i only have one question. why when the new head of council was elected why was Fiona Ferguson not elected not even put foward by her own party. why is jim currie not the head of party?? oh wait hes a lib-dem at heart isnt he

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  • Gurnards_Head  |  November 27 2012, 10:10AM

    I agree with Albru that the battle of Truro was lost 20/30 years ago when the lovely little City was boxed in by characterless residential developments that have already created created todays horrendous congestion. I always regarded the old Carrick Council as a sleazy organisation mired in the self interest of its councillors. Fiona Ferguson fought a doughty battle against Langarth Farm which I see as a development too far but it was passed by councillors who may yet rue their woeful decision. The biggest travesty being that the curse of political groups weighs our council down and makes a fertile breeding ground for assorted local ego maniacs who have delusions of becoming career politicians.

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  • shagrats  |  November 27 2012, 8:23AM

    Call me a sceptic, but its a myth that we have any real choice in politics. Politics by its very nature means that if you want power you have to appeal to the majority, On any issues of an inmportant economic signifigance they all agree. The only difference between partys is in social issues like gay rights, or tax on booze. This then gives the illusion that you have a choice, that you are "voting in change". But your not, its just the same policys but a new face.

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  • albru  |  November 27 2012, 6:55AM

    If you don't think different parties nominating leaders who are not supported by their own parties, then it is a strage world you inhabit! It is not suprising that local councillors express this view, as they woould be even more unpopular if they didn't! Unfortunately, Truro was over-developed some 20-30 years ago. The old CCC and Carrick rejected the idea of spreading facilities and development fairly equally around the main towns in Cornwall, and we now have the current bottlenecks and worse congestion than towns 10 times the size!

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  • Gurnards_Head  |  November 26 2012, 10:48PM

    If anyone can engineer a turnaround at Lys Kernow Fiona Ferguson can she has spoken much common sense about the curse of mass housing developments around Truro when Robertson and co seemed unhealthily eager to pander to developers every whim. I dont consider there to be anything bizzarre about this situation, at long last a few heads have been banged together albeit rather late in the day but still better late than never, it is now up to the new regime to demonstrate to their electorate that they are up to the job by delivering what is best for all Cornish voters. I wish them well because we need some successes.

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  • albru  |  November 26 2012, 11:00AM

    This is bizarre - if these people are really in the same party they ought to be able to get on with one another, for the electors' sake if for nothing else. If they cannot organise their own group, then what chance for Cornwall. All this seems to be about personalities rather than principles.

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  • pendeen  |  November 26 2012, 10:56AM

    A future "I'm a celebrity get me out of here contestant¨?

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