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Cllr Keith Mans replaced by Cllr Rob Humby as Hampshire County Council leader

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BROCKENHURST'S county councillor Keith Mans has been replaced as the Conservative leader of Hampshire County Council.

The member for Bishop’s Waltham, Cllr Rob Humby, has taken on the job after being voted in at a meeting in Winchester, writes David George of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

He said it was an "honour" to take on the role, having been deputy leader for the past two years.

Cllr Rob Humby
Cllr Rob Humby

Cllr Mans, who announced in February he would be stepping down, had been leader since 2019 when he replaced fellow Tory Cllr Roy Perry.

Cllr Humby was presented with a ceremonial badge by his predecessor, then gave his first speech as leader of the council.

He said: "It is truly an honour to be the new leader of Hampshire County Council – I am Hampshire through and through, and am passionate about doing the best for the people and business that make Hampshire great.

"As leader, serving the people of Hampshire will be my most important duty.

"I look forward to working with you all, and doing my very best for this wonderful county."

For the past few years, Cllr Humby has been the HCC cabinet member for economy, transport and environment.

He said he will be retaining the economic remit, making Hampshire’s finances one of his top priorities.

Cllr Keith Mans
Cllr Keith Mans

"I believe that a strong economy will best support our fantastic public services, with inclusive employment and business opportunities to improve our quality of life," he said.

"A thriving economy is so important, and that is why I’m retaining economic development in my portfolio."

Before his speech, Cllr Humby also presented a bouquet of flowers to Cllr Mans’ wife, Rosalie.

Cllr Roz Chadd, the cabinet lead member for children’s services, was appointed Cllr Humby’s deputy.

Liberal Democrat opposition leader Cllr Keith House said he had a "good relationship" with the new council leader, and looked forward to working with him.

He said: "I get on very well with Rob – we’ve both been district council leaders at one time or another and I believe we can work well together for the future of Hampshire."

But he added: "If the next round of local elections go the same way as they did this year, the next county council leader could well be a Liberal Democrat."

In Cllr Humby's cabinet, Cllr Edward Heron, the member for Lyndhurst and Fordingbridge, is now the only New Forest councillor. He holds the transport and environment strategy portfolio.

HCC also elected Cllr Marge Harvey as council chair, taking the place of Cllr Mel Kendal, of New Milton, who served an additional year as civic head due to the pandemic.

Cllr Patricia Stallard, member for Winchester Southern Parishes, was elected vice-chair.

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