By The Editor
BOTH the First and Second Citizen roles on the new-look Gosport Borough Council have been filled by the majority Liberal Democrat group during an official event held earlier today (May 18); the first since a change of leadership in the Borough following the local elections two weeks ago.
Making full use of its 16 seats on the newly elected council to the 10 held by the Conservatives and two, Labour, the controlling party forced through the appointment of Jamie Hutchison (Hardway) as Mayor and Martin Pepper (Peel Common) to be his Deputy for the coming year of 2022-23; who were both elected in the recent all-out elections under new ward boundaries.
And there were poignant scenes at today’s Mayor-Making Ceremony in the Thorngate Halls as outgoing Deputy Mayor Zoe Huggins played down the impact of a Lib-Dem U-turn. The new council leaders had – as claimed by the Tories – reneged on an earlier decision when they agreed that she should be given another term as First Citizen.
The pandemic had made it impossible for Mrs Huggins to carry out her mayoral duties in 2020-2021 with many events cancelled due to social distancing and lockdown restrictions. However, the councillor told councillors and their guests that she regarded her situation as being “different” rather than “deprived”.
For retiring Mayor Mark Hook and his Lady Mayoress, wife Lynn, it was the end of an era. He had spent 32 years serving on the council after being elected for Leesland Ward and has seen many roles, including a stint as leader. Lynn has been a dedicated councillor for the last 12 years until losing her seat in Peel Common during the local council elections on May 5 and served as mayor herself during 2016-17.
Similar to the Gosport local election count, the Globe team were in attendance at this event and will be publishing a photo special from the Mayor-Making Ceremony from Holly Mason.
PICTURED BY HOLLY MASON: Crowd at Thorngate Halls listens to Mayor-Making ceremony speech.