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Southwark Lib Dems reshuffle their top team

Three SE1 councillors will join Southwark's ruling Lib Dem-Tory executive. Meanwhile the Lib Dems are courting controversy by nominating Denise Capstick - convicted last year of drink-driving - as the new Deputy Mayor.

Cathedrals ward councillor Adele Morris, Chaucer ward councillor Tim McNally and South Bermondsey ward's Cllr Paul Kyriacou will all join the executive after their appointments are confirmed by the council's Constitutional Assembly later this month.

Under the terms of the borough's joint Lib Dem-Tory administration, the Liberal Democrat Group has nominated councillors to eight executive portfolios, with two portfolios (Housing Management and Culture, Leisure and Sport) awaiting nomination by the Conservative Group next week.

The 8 Lib Dem executive nominees

• Leader: Nick Stanton
• Children's Services: Lisa Rajan (replacing Caroline Pidgeon)
• Community Safety: Paul Kyriacou (replacing Jeff Hook)
• Citizenship, Communities & Equalities: Adele Morris (replacing Columba Blango)
• Environment: Jeff Hook (replacing Lisa Rajan)
• Health & Adult Care: David Noakes
• Regeneration: Paul Noblet
• Resources: Tim McNally (replacing Tory Toby Eckersley)

Columba Blango, Caroline Pidgeon (newly elected to the London Assembly) and Chaucer ward's Lorraine Zuleta leave the executive.

The reshuffle creates vacancies for the chairmanship of Borough & Bankside Community Council (currently held by Adele Morris) and Bermondsey Community Council (currently held by Paul Kyriacou).

"This administration has clear priorities – we want a Southwark with better schools and housing, cleaner and safer streets and more opportunities for our young people," says Cllr Nick Stanton.

"This is a new team which matches new ideas and energy with knowledge and experience.

"This year we say goodbye to Columba, Lorraine and Caroline – their talents will undoubtedly be missed, but I have full confidence in the new team.

"Southwark's new executive will rise to the challenge and deliver the vision of a better borough for all our residents."

Labour leader Cllr Peter John was predictably scathing about the changes to the Lib Dem lineup.

"Labour has shown time and again over the past two years that Columba Blango is not competent to be an executive member," he said.

"In any other walk of life he would have been sacked long before now – it's a shame for him that his colleagues didn't give him a written warning. But the people of Southwark should be relieved that he will not now be in charge of fighting crime in our borough!"

"Caroline Pidgeon's departure from education is also a welcome, if expected, announcement. For too long she has split her time between seeking election elsewhere and managing one of the council's most important departments, which has led to a series of mistakes, not least the recent calamity over new children's centres."

Next Mayor of Southwark

The Lib Dems have announced that their candidate for Mayor of Southwark will be Cllr Eliza Mann of Riverside ward.

For the position of Deputy Mayor they will be nominating Denise Capstick (Grange ward) just eight months after she resigned from the executive following her conviction for drink-driving.

Ironically she was stopped by police whilst driving home from last year's mayor-making ceremony which saw Bob Skelly installed as Mayor with Mackie Sheik as his deputy.

"Cllr Capstick's return to the fray as candidate for deputy mayor is an interesting choice," says Cllr Peter John, leader of the opposition Labour Group.

"I think she now understands how betrayed people felt by her decision to drink drive at this time last year, and by the executive's attempt to cover it up.

"Perhaps it would have been sensitive to wait for her 14-month driving ban to expire before putting herself up to be Southwark's second citizen."

Cllr Capstick served as Mayor of Southwark in the municipal year 2002/3.

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