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Pembrokeshire’s presiding member re-elected ‘huge honour’

Cllr Simon Hancock will remain as Pembrokeshire’s presiding member, but the position will be unpaid (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council)

PEMBROKESHIRE’S presiding member has been re-elected to the role, saying it is “a huge honour that means more to me than I can express”.

Pembrokeshire County Council meetings have been chaired by a presiding member since 2020, first Cllr Pat Davies and currently Cllr Simon Hancock.

The position replaces a role previously occupied by chair of the council, the role of council chairman now taking on more of a civic function, occupied by Cllr Tom Tudor until today, May 10, with Cllr Steve Alderman now taking the role.

Speaking at the May 10 annual meeting of the council, Cllr Hancock said: “Can I thank all of the members most sincerely for your faith in me; I’ve been chairing these meetings for the best part of five years, a huge honour that means more to me than I can express.

“I will do my very best to ensure our business is conducted in a fair way, and do the very best I can.”

Cllr Hancock had been proposed by deputy leader Cllr Paul Miller, seconded by Cllr Pat Davies.

Last year, full council saw heated debate on the subject of a presiding member, with claims there was an “opportunistic political move” to remove the post.

At that meeting, members were asked to consider options for a financial allowance for the presiding member, but a sticking point emerged, giving the option to remove the role, the council chairman taking the position back; which sparked much debate on the legitimacy of including it.

An amendment, to the recommendation to support remuneration of the role, was put forward by Councillor Jamie Adams – leader of the previous council administration – to delete the role of presiding member from the next election, reverting to the previous chairman role.

However, Deputy Leader Cllr Paul Miller said the proposal by Cllr Adams was “an entirely opportunistic political move” to oust Cllr Hancock.

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During a heated meeting, which attracted the ire of Councillor Alan Dennison and Councillor Aled Thomas – Cllr Miller said some previous elected chairs were ‘patsies’ elected by the-then ruling independent political group, under the leadership of Cllr Adams.

Following that meeting, the matter was discussed at the council’s Constitutional Review Committee of October 31, stating it had “absolute opposition” to abolishing the post.

A later council meeting voted against any remuneration for the post.

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