Dorset

Dorset County Council Conservatives elect Rebecca Knox leader

Rebecca Knox Image copyright Dorset County Council
Image caption Rebecca Knox, county councillor for Beaminster, said she was "delighted" to have been elected group leader

The Conservatives on Dorset County Council have elected a new leader after the authority's Tory leader lost his seat to the Liberal Democrats.

Former leader Robert Gould was beaten by Jon Andrews despite an overall win for the party, which retained council control at the local election.

Councillor Rebecca Knox, who represents Beaminster, was elected group leader earlier and said she was "delighted".

The new leader of the authority will be elected at full council on 18 May.

Image caption The Conservative Party retained control of Dorset County Council after winning 32 of the 46 seats in Thursday's election

"There is much to do, we have a substantial programme of work we need to get on with, and I look forward to the opportunities we can deliver together with our valuable staff for the residents of Dorset," Ms Knox said.

Councillor Peter Wharf, who represents North West Purbeck, has been elected deputy group leader.

Image copyright Dorset County Council
Image caption Council leader Robert Gould lost his Sherborne Town seat by 22 votes

The Tories retained control of the county council after winning 32 of the 46 seats.

Mr Gould lost his Sherborne Town seat by 22 votes as Mr Andrews gained it with 1,493.

UKIP was left without a seat while the Liberal Democrats won 11 seats, the Green Party won two and the Labour Cooperative retained a single seat.

Colehill East and Stapehill councillor Janet Dover continues as the Liberal Democrat group leader.

'Stronger voice'

She said it would be "working positively with the administration, but we will also challenge them when we need to".

Leader of the Green group, Rodwell councillor Clare Sutton, said she was "looking forward to having a stronger voice" in the council's decisions.

The local election took place amidst plans to reorganise local government in Dorset with two unitary authorities.

The authority has said it will not be revealing plans for the restructure until after the general election on 8 June.

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