Former Bitterne Park pharmacist and councillor is new Tory group lead

civic centre with grass april 24 GP 600pxBy Jason Lewis, Local Democracy Reporter

Former Bitterne Park councillor and pharmacist Peter Baillie is the new Conservative group leader on Southampton City Council.

Peter Baillie: From Triangle in the 90s to council chamber in the 2000s


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The new leader of the Conservative group on Southampton City Council believes his party can take back control of the local authority in two to three years.

Cllr Peter Baillie said the “tide has turned” after this month’s election results where the Conservatives gained two seats, taking their total to 10.

Labour still holds a strong majority with 36 seats out of the 51 available across Southampton.

The Tory group leader post was vacant after Daniel Fitzhenry decided to call time on his 16-year run as a councillor.

Cllr Baillie told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I see this from our group’s point of view as a really good time to be involved.

“I think the tide has turned. I think the election results a couple of weeks ago were actually good for us.

“I think realistically we are looking to take control in two to three years.”

The Harefield ward member has previously served as a cabinet member for children’s services and for housing and regeneration.

He has been a community pharmacist for more than 30 years, even welcoming Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to Weston Lane Surgery last year.

Cllr Baillie said Mr Fitzhenry would be a hard act to follow but added that he had gained a lot of experience across his 20 years as an elected representative.

Discussing the challenges facing the council, Cllr Baillie said: “Unfortunately, and I don’t say it with any sense of glee, the council is in utter chaos at the moment. I have never known it anywhere near as chaotic as it is.

“It does not seem to be able to get anything done. We have got a huge raft of cuts that we are going to hear about in July which are going to be really, really serious cuts.

“It is basically down to mismanagement by Labour. It is not a lack of money, it is just sheer mismanagement, so we need to be a really strong, vigorous opposition and we will be.

“We will be holding them to account because they have really messed up big time and they need to be held to account for that.”

The Conservative group also re-elected Cllr Jeremy Moulton as deputy chair at a meeting on Monday, May 13.

Following the local elections earlier this month, Labour council leader Lorna Fielker said Southampton residents trusted her administration to deliver for them. She said her party was a “safe pair of hands”.

Peter Baillie: From Triangle in the 90s to council chamber in the 2000s

ldrs logo 200px This article is from the Local Democracy Reporting Service or Shared Data Unit. Some alterations and additions may have been made by our site, which is a partner in the BBC's Local News Partnerships scheme. LDRS journalists are funded by the BBC to cover local authorities and other public service organisations, and content is shared with all partners.

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