LIVE BLOG: Cornwall Council Annual Meeting 2023

Full council

Cornwall Council will meet today to elect its Chairman, deputy Chairman and leader for the next year.

The annual meeting will be held in the Council Chamber at County Hall in Truro, starting at 10.30am.

As well as the elections, the meeting will also see the leader give their 'State of Cornwall in the National Context' speech.

Also on today's agenda are annual reports from the Standards Committee and the Overview and Scrutiny to be received and discussed, as well as a report from the working group on bullying, intimidation and harassment, which recommends that the authority should support the Local Government Association’s ‘Debate not Hate’ campaign.

You can follow the meeting live via our webcast service, or follow the live blog below:

Watch the Webcast

Read the Agenda

9.30am: Today's meeting will start in an hour's time.

10.30am: The meeting is underway, with the first item on the agenda the election of the Chairman for the next year.  Cllr Loic Rich is first to speak, nominating Cllr Pauline Giles to continue in the role.  

10.34am: Cllr Giles is the only nominee.  She tells the chamber that the role involves so much more than just managing the chamber, and how she has travelled the length and breadth of Cornwall attending various ceremonies, and that she will continue to give the role her all.

10.38am: Cllr Giles is elected as chairman of Cornwall Council for the third time.

10.40am: We now move onto the election of the vice chairman.  First to speak is Cllr Linda Taylor, who nominates Cllr Jordan Rowse.

Cllr Rowse has been Cllr Giles' deputy for the past two years.

10.45am:  Cllr Rowse is the only nomination for the role.  He tells the chamber he is delighted to see Cllr Giles back in her role and that it is an honour and a pleasure to work with her.

10.48am:  Cllr Rowse is elected as vice chairman for 2023/24.


10.50am: We now move onto prayers.

10.54am: Next on the agenda is apologies, followed by the approval of the minutes from the last meeting of the full council.

10.57am: Tributes are paid to Mark Duddridge, the chairman of the Cormwall Local Enterprise Partnership, who sadly died last week.  Cllr Linda Taylor says he will not be forgotten, and he will always be thanked for his work putting Cornwall out in front.

10.58am:  Cllr Pauline Giles is giving her announcements.  She has announced that 'Battling On' will be her chosen charity for the next year.  

11.02am:  We now move onto public questions.

11.03am:  A question has been put forward asking who has taken over the former Cornwall Heritage Aviation Museum site at Cornwall Newquay Airport.  It is confirmed that a Canadian company focused on horizontal space launches has signed a contract for the premises.  

11.07am: Another question asks if the council will commit to plant-based farming only.  Cllr Martyn Alvey responds stating that the authority supports all farmers; arable, livestock and all others, and that the council is also supportive of a sustainable Cornwall.

11.18am:  We now move onto the election of a leader for the council for 2023/24.

11.19am:  Cllr Connor Donnithorne nominates the current leader, Cllr Linda Taylor, to retain her role.  He points out her strong leadership of an effective cabinet that is delivering on the priorities of Cornish residents.

11.22am: Cllr David Harris seconds the nomination, speaking of her hard work promoting the work of the council and her determination to do the best for all the people of Cornwall.

11.23am: Cllr Loic Rich nominates Cllr Julian German as leader of the council.  He says he would be the best person to lead, as he understands both how the council works and how the whole of Cornwall needs leadership.  Cllr German led the council for two years under the previous administration.

11.26am:  Cllr Colin Martin seconds Cllr German's nomination.  He tells the chamber that spending money is not the only solution to Cornwall's problems, and that the problems faced by Cornwall needs new leadership.  

11.28am:  There will be a short adjournment as an issue with the microphones used during the debates is resolved.

11.36am:  The meeting is back underway. Cllr Taylor is outlining how she sees the role, and explains her vision sees a focus on creating a vibrant Cornwall where people can start well, live well and age well.

11.39am:  Cllr Taylor continues, outlining the achievements her administration has delivered in the past two years.

11.40am:  Cllr German is now speaking.  He tells the chamber this is not about who leads the council, but how the council is led.  He tells the chamber he wants to allow councillors to deliver by increasing the community chest funding.  He vows to put £100 million on the table to tackle the climate crisis.

11.42am: Cllr German continues, telling councillors that the council has seen record funding, but has chosen to put money in reserves rather than spending on services.

11.44am: The council will now vote on who will become the new leader.

11.47am:  Cllr Linda Taylor is elected as leader of Cornwall Council for the third time.

11.48am:  Cllr Taylor wins by 47 votes to 33 votes.

11.48am: Cllr Taylor is now making her leader announcements.  She tells the chamber:  "Thank you for electing me as leader for the next year. It is, and continues to be, the greatest honour of my life to lead this council and to work daily to improve the lives of our residents.
"It is incumbent on me to now appoint my cabinet for the next twelve months, and I have absolutely no hesitation in announcing that there will be no changes to the nine colleagues who have shown real dedication and commitment to Cornwall in the past 12 months."

11.53am:  We now move onto the appointment of scrutiny chairmen and committee members.  The recommendations have been approved.

11.59am:  Cllr Linda Taylor is now giving her annual 'State of Cornwall in the National Context' speech.

She tells the chamber:  "The past year has also proved to be a pivotal one in the role of Cornwall within the national context. Since this administration took office, we have enjoyed several moments in the national and indeed international spotlight.
"We have seen world leader’s gathering in Carbis Bay, world class cyclists racing through our streets, and earlier this year, and the first attempt at a horizontal satellite launch from British soil at Cornwall Spaceport.
"Although we all know that the launch was not an unqualified success, there was much Cornwall could be proud of, and we did nothing but enhance our standing in the eyes of the rest of the world."

12.07pm:  Cllr Taylor concludes: "Of course, all this and more has been made possible by creating an empowered and enterprising Council led by an excellent directors’ team with a highly skilled and dedicated workforce, with our levels of Employee Engagement comparing very favourably to other organisations across the country.
"We are also seeing increased levels of satisfaction among our residents when compared to the national picture, with the level of ‘trust in the Council’ now standing 6 percentage points above the Local Government Association’s national residents’ survey figure.
"As I said at the outset, despite the successes of the past 12 months, we cannot and will not become complacent. We still have much work to do to achieve the tough targets we have set ourselves and far from ‘just managing’ out the next two years, I want the Council to remain aspirational and continue to be the flagbearer for rural councils.
"We will do that by securing further powers and funding for Cornwall; together with doing more to provide great value for our local taxpayers’ money with improving services delivered on budget."

12.09pm: We now move onto reports from scrutiny committees.

12.39pm: Scrutiny committee chairmen are taking questions from members.

12.59am: We now hear the report from the Standards Committee

1.02pm:  We will now break for lunch, and will resume at 1.45pm.

1.50pm:  We are back underway at the Annual Meeting.  The next item for discussion is a report from the working group on bullying, intimidation and harassment, which recommends that the council should support the Local Government Association’s ‘Debate not Hate’ campaign. Cllr Crabtree is introducing the item.

1.54pm:  Cllr Barry Jordan voices his support, saying it does not just affect councillors, but their families as well, highlighting the impact abuse he has received has had on his wife. 

1.56pm: Cllr Dulcie Tudor thanks the committee for their work on the issue, saying abuse she has received has been well documented.  She also highlights that, according to statistics, women are more likely to be abused, and that support needs to reflect this.

2.01pm: Cllr Linda Taylor voices her support, saying that some people feel they have the right to abuse you just because you speak in pubic, and voice your opinion.

2.07pm:  Cllr Louis Gardner tells the chamber that he has received intimidation over the course of two years, including abuse and visits to his home.  He says that although fellow councillors were hugely supportive, the council itself could have provided more help.  He suggests more support from the council's legal team would have been beneficial.  He welcomes the paper and its recommendations.

2.11pm:  Cllr Crabtree summarises, and the council votes unanimously to support the recommendations within the paper.

2.13pm:  The next item on the agenda is for motions submitted by councillors.  The first, 'Cornwall Council to Treat Care Experience as if it were a Protected Characteristic ', submitted by Cllr James Mustoe, has been sent to Cabinet for discussion. Cllr Mustoe will now outline the reasons for submitting the motion.

2.19pm:  We move onto the second motion: 'Supporting Cornwall's Farmers'.  Cllr Nick Craker introduces the paper, which has five points:

1. Cornwall Council recognises and notes the huge contribution made by our local farmers and growers to the Cornish economy and its rural communities.
2. Cornwall Council commits to developing stronger partnerships with our arable, livestock, and dairy farmers in order to enhance our magnificent countryside. The Council will strive to support farmers, by being sympathetic to diversification opportunities and promotion of local produce.
3. Cornwall Council commits to supporting our local farmers by, where possible, ensuring that all food provided at council organised events is seasonal produce sourced from local suppliers; to include meat, dairy, and plant-based produce.
4. With tackling the Climate and Ecological Emergencies key priorities for Cornwall; Cornwall Council will consider ways to encourage residents, where possible, to shop locally, taking advantage of home-grown, affordable and nutritious food, both plant and meat based thus reducing food miles to our plates and boosting the local economy.
5. Cornwall Council will continue to support the Council’s County Farms estate, including the adopted 2019-2039 Farm Estate Strategy.

Watch the Webcast

3.15pm: We now move onto the final agenda item; questions from councillors to Cabinet members.

4.15pm: Today's meeting has now concluded

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