Reports: Baroness Scott has agreed to stand down as Wiltshire Council leader...next year
Marlborough.news has heard substantive reports in the media that Baroness Scott has agreed to stand down next year as Wiltshire Council's leader.
It is reported that this is the result of negotiations following a planned vote for the leadership of the group (which could be interpreted as a vote of no confidence in the Leader) that was scheduled to be held by members of the ruling Conservative group on Thursday last week (April 19). The vote was avoided when she agreed to stand down and begin the process of an orderly succession.
Some Conservative Councillors had voiced concerns that Baroness Scott was spending too much time in London attending the House of Lords.
Those concerns were intensified with a story in a Sunday newspaper (March 24) which carried the headline: Council leader faces calls to quite after working in her £300-a-day role as a peer claiming she was 'too ill' to visit Salisbury residents after poison plot
The story in the Mail on Sunday said she had 'only visited Salisbury 19 days after nerve agent attack on the city'. It quoted her deputy, Councillor John Thompson, as saying she had been 'extremely ill'.
Marlborough.news understands that Baroness Scott was suffering from shingles after she returned from a visit to South Africa. But the somewhat contradictory explanations for her absence from Salisbury were highlighted in the newspaper's report.
Last year Baroness Scott was appointed to the government's task force to support recovery after the Grenfell Tower fire disaster.
Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE - formerly known as Jane Scott - has been Conservative Leader of Wiltshire Council since its formation as a unitary council in 2009. It is the seventh largest unitary council in the country.
Earlier this year Baroness Scott was named by The Local Government Chronicleas one of the most influential people working in the public sector. She was made a life peer in 2015.
In a blog entry reviewing 2017 she wrote: "In a climate when we hear that so many councils across the country are stopping services, I am so pleased that we are an exception and that we continue to invest. This year we opened state of the art community facilities across the country with others underway for completion in 2018 and beyond - and, we've improved the roads and we're helping to regenerate Salisbury City and other market towns, continually improving the local economy and the place we live and work in."