North Herts council leader defeats challenge at Conservative group meeting

PUBLISHED: 12:42 11 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:39 15 May 2018

North Herts District Council leader Lynda Needham. Picture: NHDC

North Herts District Council leader Lynda Needham. Picture: NHDC

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North Herts District Council leader Lynda Needham last night defeated a challenge for her position by one of her cabinet members.

North Herts District Council planning and enterprise portfolio holder David Levett. Picture: Christian TrampenauNorth Herts District Council planning and enterprise portfolio holder David Levett. Picture: Christian Trampenau

Councillor David Levett, the district council’s executive member for planning and enterprise, put himself forward for the leadership at last night’s meeting of the authority’s controlling Conservative group.

But a vote within the group backed Mrs Needham, who has led the district council since 2010.

Mr Levett’s challenge came after the Tory group lost five of the 13 seats it was defending in the May 3 local elections – reducing its share of the 49 council seats from 34 to 29.

This paper understands the leadership vote was close, but has been unable to confirm the exact numbers.

Mr Levett said today: “I have great respect for Lynda.

“I stood for leader because I thought the group needed change. Unfortunately the group didn’t think I was the one to do that.

“I’m happy to continue my work in the cabinet and do what’s good for the group and the council.”

Mr Levett, who chaired the council from 2010 to 2011, also put himself forward for the leadership two years ago.

Mrs Needham said she could not comment as matters within the Conservative group were highly confidential.

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