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Cllr Chris Townsend, an  Independent councillor Mole Valley District Council, has become leader of the Council in coalition with the Conservatives. As there are seven independents and 16 Conservatives this is an unusual way round. the Lib Dems, with 19 councillors, are mad as hornets.

The Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser reports:

Party leaders met for back room talks ahead of the meeting at Pippbrook in Dorking, and Independent councillor Chris Townsend emerged as the new leader, despite his party holding just seven of the 41 council seats.

Under the "strong leader" system, Mr Townsend can now choose his executive – seven councillors responsible for making major decisions – and the Lib Dems, who have 19 seats, are furious the Tories and Independents united to stop them taking control.

Councillor Mick Longhurst (Lib Dem, Holmwoods) called the meeting an "absolute shambles" and Lib Dem deputy leader Stephen Cooksey said the situation would be "mystifying and unacceptable to the public".

Lib Dem leader David Preedy said he is disappointed, and expects Mr Townsend to name an executive of Conservative and Independent councillors.

"We offered the Independents the opportunity to go into a joint administration, but instead they have decided to prop up a Conservative administration that doesn't agree with their priorities,"
he said.

"I think it's a farce."

I doubt the public will find it "unacceptable." I suspect they will judge the new administration on how they perform. Cllr Townsend also sits on Surrey County Council and his views actually seem pretty Conservative on issues like parking and value for money.

Meanwhile Cllr Derrick Burt, formerly a Lib Dem councillor will now sit as a Social Democrat councillor after Nick Clegg failed to reply to two of his emails.

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