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Jon Harvey narrowly wins Pembrokeshire County Council leadership challenge

Cllr Jon Harvey has been elected the new leader of Pembrokeshire County Council (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council)

PEMBROKESHIRE’S new council leader Jon Harvey has promised to bring “compassion and transparency” and a willingness to work with other political groups after a narrow election victory in County Hall today, May 10.

Pembroke St Mary North member Cllr Harvey beat fellow leadership hopeful Conservative group leader Di Clements by 30 votes to 27, at today’s annual council meeting, following former leader David Simpson announcing he was to step down after seven years in the top job.

Cllr Clements had been nominated by Cllr Rhys Jordan, who said the member for Martletwy and chair of Pembrokeshire Cost National Park would serve as “a beacon of fairness in the chamber,” adding: “Her approach is not only about being fair but being accessible”.

He added: “Di’s vision for our future is clear, a council that works effectively for all of our residents.

“Since the inception of this council leadership has been predominantly male; as Margaret Thatcher once said: ‘If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman. The time has come for a change, leadership that not only listens but works, a new era for Pembrokeshire under the capable and dynamic leadership of Di.”

Proposing who has served as Cabinet Member for Planning & Housing Delivery Cllr Harvey, former leader Cllr David Simpson said: “Jon has been a man that has proved himself since being elected in 2019; in Cabinet he’s proven to be a man of honesty and integrity, he understands the working of local government, he’s been in it the best part of all his working life [serving as a town planner].”

He said Cllr Harvey, who once managed an Indie rock band, “had proved himself an excellent team worker” during his five years in Cabinet, adding: “I really believe he’d also be an excellent team leader.”

After a secret ballot which saw 30 votes for Cllr Harvey to 27 for Cllr Clements, with two abstentions, Cllr Harvey signed his oath of acceptance as the new leader, paying tribute to his fellow leadership hopeful Cllr Clements, saying “having more than one candidate is good for democracy”.

He said the responsibility of taking the role of leader was “not one I take lightly,” saying he would bring “compassion, transparency, and integrity”.

He said there was a need for the political groups to work together for the good of Pembrokeshire.

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“If we work together for a common purpose and common goals, we can make a real difference for the residents we serve.

“Let’s work together; neither I nor the Cabinet have a monopoly on good ideas, speak to us. To this end I look forward to meeting with all the political groups on a regular basis.”

He also paid tribute to Cllr Simpson’s leadership of the last seven years, saying: “The council is a much-changed organisation, and for the better I might add,” describing Cllr Simpson’s leadership as being run with “skill, dignity and openness”.

He finished: “I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running.”

Cllr Clements said: “Whilst the outcome was not what we hoped for the democratic process is the cornerstone of everything we do. Jon, I wish you and the Cabinet that you chose the very best in your roles.”

Cllr Harvey has said he would announce his new Cabinet next week, adding the role of deputy leader, would remain Cllr Paul Miller.