Conservatives assemble first shadow cabinet team following Labour losses

Phil Bibby headshot

The first Conservative shadow cabinet has been assembled for Stevenage Borough Council - Credit: Herts County Council

The Stevenage Conservative Group has assembled a shadow cabinet team, after the latest election saw the council come "close to no overall control".

At the Annual General Meeting of the Stevenage Conservative Councillor Group, both Cllr Phil Bibby and Cllr Graham Lawrence were re-elected as group leader and deputy leader respectively.

Longstanding Conservative Cllr Margaret Notley was re-elected chief whip unopposed, and will also serve as deputy mayor.

The first Conservative Shadow Cabinet team was also appointed by Cllr Bibby at the meeting.

He said: “I am very proud to have been re-elected leader of Stevenage’s Conservative councillors. These most recent elections have followed the trend of the last few years: local people have grown tired of Labour’s stale administration.

"Stevenage Labour have run the council since 1973 and many local people don’t feel that Labour has delivered for our town.

"For the first time in decades the council is close to no overall control. We will double our efforts to scrutinise and hold Labour to account for their failing administration of our local council.

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"Our shadow cabinet will show in the coming months the talent, experience and determination of our Conservative councillors and will stand in stark contrast to Labour’s stale and out of touch executive.”

In the new shadow cabinet will be Cllr Phil Bibby as shadow executive member for economy, enterprise & transport and Cllr Graham Lawrence as shadow executive member for environment & regeneration.

Cllr Adam Mitchell will serve as shadow executive member for resources, alongside Cllr Margaret Notley for children, young people, leisure & culture, Cllr Alex Farquharson for housing, health & older people, Cllr Wendy Kerby for communities, community safety & equalities and Cllr Jody Hanafin for neighbourhoods & co-operative council.

At the Annual Meeting of Stevenage Borough Council yesterday evening, there were no changes to last year's line up of executive members. 

Council leader Sharon Taylor said in response to the new shadow cabinet: "It is of course for the opposition to decide if they wish to have a shadow cabinet, they have every democratic right to do so.

"Our priorities in Stevenage are taken from the survey and other engagement we do with the people of Stevenage so if the Tories think they are the wrong ones, I hope they will have an evidence base for saying so. 

"The leader of the Conservative Group has been part of all the executive meetings for the whole of this last year so he has had ample opportunity to challenge any of the work that is being done, he has not done so.

"He has also been part of the budget setting process for many years and, in fact, the Stevenage Council budget was approved unanimously by the Council in February 2021, so if there was disagreement about the council’s priorities, that would have been an opportunity to say so.  They did not."

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