Storm brews over mayor's new cabinet

MANSFIELD'S new mayor has shown a get-tough style by laying down the law just two weeks after landing the town's top job.

MANSFIELD'S new mayor has shown a get-tough style by laying down the law just two weeks after landing the town's top job.

In a hard-line approach mayor Tony Egginton has already thrown out Labour Party nominations for candidates to sit on his first cabinet.

The town's new chief has accused the Labour Group of being obstructive after they insisted on putting forward their own choice of candidates instead of letting all councillors apply for a seat on the historic new cabinet.

After sweeping to victory in the landmark leadership election Mr Egginton wrote to the 46 sitting councillors inviting them to apply for a position on his new team.

He had repeatedly stated that he wanted his cabinet Mansfield District Council's main decision-making body and previously controlled by Labour to be made up of five cross-party representatives.

Now he says the Labour Group's move to pick their own people unfairly excludes others from applying.

His criticism of the party move came as he held his first press conference yesterday and named the first four councillors to take a seat on the new-style cabinet.

He then revealed that he had given the thumbs down to three Labour nominations to fill the remaining post saying they 'were not appropriate to take Mansfield forward'.

Said Mr Egginton: "Basically what they are saying to people is 'you can't apply for it because we don't think you are good enough'. Is that democracy? That's the way they are doing it in my opinion."

It is the post of portfolio holder for corporate issues that is still up for grabs and a defiant Mr Egginton insists that he will have the final say on who takes up the role.

"I will do exactly what I want to do. I've got to rise above it," he told Chad. "They are playing party politics and that's not what the people voted for. They wanted me to drive through it and that's what I intend to do."

But he has accepted Labour councillor Les Marshall and beaten mayoral candidate Lorna Carter who becomes Mr Egginton's deputy mayor onto his new team.

Coun Marshall will be responsible for social and housing while Tory member Kate Allsop takes over from Coun Allan McLean as portfolio holder for regeneration and development. Liberal Democrat group leader Phil Smith replaces Coun John Milnes as the new portfolio holder for environment.

Mr Egginton says he will hold talks with the Labour Group to resolve the issue and hopes his team will be complete before next week's first cabinet meeting.