“More fiddling while Rome burns” – a cabinet “reshuffle” which is all about Cornwall’s internal Conservative Party politics

Posted By on 24th August 2023

By Graham Smith

Cornwall Council leader councillor Linda Taylor has made a few changes to responsibilities within her cabinet – lifting the transport burden from Parliamentary hopeful Connor Donnothorne so that he can dodge blame for the current row over car parking charges and spend more time campaigning.

Councillor Donnithorne will now pocket his additional £21,105.48 per year cabinet allowance for promoting “digital inclusion.”  This is the equivalent of “very light duties” and means that councillor Donnithorne need not worry too much about anything as he seeks general election votes in Camborne and Redruth.

“Digital inclusion” has hitherto meant little more than introducing chat-bots to the County Hall website, automating excuses for not answering the phone.  It had previously been the responsibility of fellow cabinet member, the customers’ portfolio holder councillor Richard Pears – who will now add the transport brief to his existing “supervision” of Cormac and the other Corserv companies.

“This is an outrageous conflict of interest,” said one Tory backbencher.  “If transport portfolio holder Richard doesn’t like what’s happening on the roads, he makes a complaint to himself as the man in charge of Cormac!

“This is a missed opportunity and will simply allow the council’s senior officers to carry on doing whatever they like.  As usual, cabinet members will be among the last to know.  We’d been asking for a cabinet reshuffle.  Instead we’ve just had more fiddling while Rome burns.”

Recently-married councillor Pears clearly has an appetite for putting his political neck on the block.  He had previously been defender-in-chief of his officials’ attempts to close leisure centres.

Councillor Donnithorne’s burden has been eased considerably.  Not only will he now be spared the embarrassment of having to defend the deeply unpopular increase in car parking charges, he will also escape the next round of pain associated with another rise in Tamar Bridge tolls.

A growing band of Conservative councillors are becoming admirers of their Saltash colleague, councillor Martin Worth, and are sorry that he has not been promoted.

Connor Donnithorne (left) has swapped transport for "digital inclusion" - dodging car park pain while getting more time to pursue his Parliamentary ambitions.  Richard Pears keeps responsibility for Cormac, fuelling concern about a conflict of interest.

Responsibility for “leisure” – something which the council insists it has no responsibility for – now passes from councillor Pears to neighbourhoods’ portfolio holder councillor Carol Mould.

Climate change portfolio holder Martyn Alvey can now add “rights of way and open spaces” to his to-do list.

None of the other cabinet members sees any change to their portfolios.

grahamsmith@cornwallreports.co.uk

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