East Herts Council confirms new political leadership

New Leader of the Council, Ben Crystall with Deputy Leader, Mione Goldspink
East Herts’ Annual Council meeting tonight voted to confirm the formation of a new political administration following the local government elections held on 4 May.

The Greens emerged as the largest party with 19 councillors and will form a joint administration with the Liberal Democrats who now hold 10 seats. With a combined majority of 29 out of a total of 50 seats, the new administration will run the council over the next four years, marking the end of 28 years of Conservative control.

Tonight’s Annual Council meeting also elected Councillor Ben Crystall (Green) as Leader of the Council and confirmed the membership of the Executive, the council’s main decision-making body.

Councillor Crystall said: “I am confident that the Greens and the Liberal Democrats, working together in this joint administration, will provide strong and effective leadership for our communities. Our combined efforts will navigate the challenges ahead, deliver on residents’ priorities, and strive towards a better, more sustainable future for all in East Herts.”

Councillor Mione Goldspink (Liberal Democrats) was appointed Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, a role which includes the responsibility for housing, emergency planning and community safety. 

Councillor Goldspink said: “I am delighted that we have reached an agreement to work together and begin a new era of political leadership for East Herts. Our vision for the district will be underpinned by the principles that unite us – including environmental protection and sustainability – together with a strong focus on community engagement to ensure we remain responsive to the diverse needs of all our residents.”

The other Executive Member portfolios were confirmed as:
•    Councillor Sarah Hopewell (Green) – Executive Member for Wellbeing
•    Councillor Joseph Dumont (Liberal Democrat) – Executive Member for Corporate Services
•    Councillor Vicky Glover-Ward (Green) – Executive Member for Planning and Growth 
•    Councillor Tim Hoskin (Green) – Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability
•    Councillor Carl Brittain (Green) – Executive Member for Financial Sustainability
•    Councillor Alex Daar (Green) – Executive Member for Communities
•    Councillor Chris Wilson (Liberal Democrat) – Executive Member for Resident Engagement 

In addition to the Executive roles, Councillor Martin Butcher was elected as the new Chair of the Council, and Councillor Calvin Horner was elected as the new Vice-Chair. As well as presiding over East Herts Full Council meetings, the Chair of the Council has a ceremonial role and represents the district at civic events. Councillor Butcher announced he will raise money for two charities: CPRE Hertfordshire and Community Alliance.

He said: “I am honoured to represent East Herts and look forward to supporting our many local charities, businesses and community groups in their excellent work across the district. My chosen charities for the year, CPRE Hertfordshire and Community Alliance, do important work in our district and I am pleased to have the opportunity during my time in office to contribute to such worthy causes.”

Vice-Chair, Councillor Calvin Horner, said: “I am pleased to be appointed Vice-Chair, and I am excited for the opportunity to support our Chair in his endeavours. East Herts’ voluntary sector continues to do amazing work and I look forward to celebrating the people behind the scenes who make our district a so-much-better place to be.”

Full Council also agreed on the size of committees, political proportionality, and committee chairs and vice-chairs. The full list can be found on the council’s website.