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We Are The Future Now

May 22, 2019 8:30 PM

Tim PraterAt the Folkestone and Hythe District Council Annual General Meeting of 22nd May, Lib Dem Group Leader Tim Prater proposed Laura Davison, Labour councillor for Folkestone Central, for Chair of the Council.

Assuming he didn't fluff his speech, this is what he said:

*****

I'm delighted and honoured that Gary and I received the support of the voters of Sandgate and West Folkestone in such large numbers. We will work hard to repay their trust. I'm sure you are all as pleased to see me back as I am to be here.

It's been just over 8 years since I was last in this chamber as a District Councillor. A week may be long time in politics, but those eight years have rushed by.

And what a lot has changed in those eight years.

At that election in 2011, the Conservatives carried all ahead them, pretty much sweeping the board. You certainly swept me off the board.

This year, there's a new broom.

David Monk can protest as much as he likes that this was a national protest vote.

It's true, Theresa May is massively unpopular - rightly.

But so is David Monk - rightly.

The Conservatives held control in Ashford, Canterbury and Dover despite Theresa May. They lost control in Folkestone and Hythe.

We all know the difference: David Monk.

You were the future once. We are the future now.

So the first business of this Council is to elect a new Chair.

And the first proposal of the Conservatives is not about change. Its not a glimpse of the future, but, with all due respect, offers more of the same. It looks back, not forward.

The clear message from 2nd May is that voters do NOT want more of the same.

So lets start this new Council off with a new direction. Lets show voters here in Folkestone and Hythe that something HAS changed. That as Councillors, we heard them. And lets make that change tonight, now.

It's time to be understand that the future in this chamber is about Councillors and Parties working together. Working together to deliver change for this Council. I'm proud to be on the side of change of this Council.

We'll work with all groups willing to bring change. And as a clear example of that, I'm nominating Laura Davison as a Labour Councillor for Chair of this Council.

Laura is a new Councillor to Folkestone and Hythe. She represents the change that voters wanted.

Laura has experience of chairing meetings at Labour Party and Union level, and will bring that experience to chairing this Council.

I know Laura will treat all Councillors fairly and with respect, and uphold the right of Councillors in shaping this Council, and its decisions.

Laura will respect that the voters didn't give any one Party a majority, and that to get the best for our area, we're going to need to grow up and work together across Parties to deliver for our area.

Laura will work with all Councillors to ensure we all have a voice, to make our community fairer and to give more support to those that need it most.

Laura will support moves to make us more responsive to our local areas, and give our Town and Parish Councils a bigger say in how services are delivered there.

And Laura will stand up for the right for planning decisions to be made by the local councillors that should be involved.

Folkestone decisions made by Folkestone Councillors.

Hythe decisions made in Hythe.

North Downs decisions made in the towns and villages of the North Downs.

And Marsh decisions made on the Marsh.

That sort of change needs a new administration, and it needs to start from the top. We need a Chair that will respect the views of the majority of voters in Folkestone and Hythe who voted for change, not the minority of Conservatives that hung on to their seats in that wave of change.

Laura Davison can be that Chair, and, tonight, Councillors in this room can start to deliver change by supporting her.

I am pleased to be doing so, and I urge all others Councillors - from every group - to do so as well.