ELECTED councillors in County Durham have voted for a cross party administration made up of several groups to run the authority.

Members this morning backed plans for an alliance made up of Tories, Lib Dems and independents to run Durham County Council.

The plan to keep Labour from running the authority was approved at Spennymoor Leisure Centre this morning.

It had the support of 72 councillors and was opposed by 53 Labour members.

The new council leader is Councillor Amanda Hopgood, leader of the County Durham Liberal Democrat Group.

She said: “It is a huge honour to have been elected Leader of Durham County Council and I thank councillors for their support.

"This is a new era for the council – not only am I the first non-Labour Leader, but also the first female Leader.

"I will be Leader of the whole of Durham County Council, regardless of political affiliations, and I hope that we can all embrace the opportunity to work together as we move forward.

“Everyone who has worked so hard to form the council’s first joint administration recognises the responsibility that is now on our shoulders.

"Collectively, we represent a wider cross-section of the county than any previous administration, and that is a reflection of how the public voted and the change that they demanded.

"We are all committed to improving County Durham, building the economy, providing vital services, and always consulting residents and listening to them.

"In close cooperation, the hard work for all partners in the new joint administration starts immediately.”

The deputy leader is Richard Bell, who leads the local Conservative group.

Watts Stelling (Independent for Leadgate) is the new chairman designate and Beaty Bainbridge (Conservative for Chester-le-Street) is vice chairwoman.

Labour no longer had a majority after losing 14 seats in the recent elections.

It means the party does not control the council for the first time in a century.

Former leader Simon Henig stood down as leader of County Durham Labour Group and was replaced by Carl Marshall.

He offered his congratulations and said his group would work with the new administration.

He said: “Cleary, we are in unchartered territory with no party in overall control.”

During the meeting, the following appointments to the new county cabinet:

  • Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Finance – Cllr Richard Bell
  • Cabinet member for Adults and Health Services – Cllr Paul Sexton
  • Cabinet member for Children and Young People’s Services – Cllr Ted Henderson
  • Cabinet member for Digital and Customer Services – Cllr Susan McDonnell
  • Cabinet member for Economy and Partnerships – Cllr Elizabeth Scott
  • Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Climate Change – Cllr Mark Wilkes
  • Cabinet member for Equality and Inclusion – Cllr Alan Shield
  • Cabinet member for Resources, Investment and Assets – Cllr James Rowlandson
  • Cabinet member for Rural Communities and Highways – Cllr John Shuttleworth