Geoff Driver confirmed as council leader - just three days after arrest

Photo Neil Cross
Geoff Driver at LCC
Photo Neil Cross Geoff Driver at LCC
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Scandal-hit politician Geoff Driver has been confirmed as the new leader of Lancashire County Council.

Just three days ago, the Conservative leader had been arrested and was being questioned by police over the One Connect scandal.

Now county councillors have formally appointed him as leader in a meeting of the full council.

The county council’s new-look cabinet was also announced by Councillor Driver today. The cabinet members are:

• County Councillor Albert Atkinson, deputy leader (county councillor for Ribble Valley North East)

• County Councillor Susie Charles, cabinet member for children, young people and schools (county councillor for Lancaster Rural East)

• County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport (county councillor for Chorley Rural West)

• County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development and planning (county councillor for Moss Side & Farington)

• County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services (county councillor for St Annes North)

• County Councillor Viv Taylor, cabinet member for health and wellbeing (county councillor for Wyre Rural Central)

• County Councillor Graham Gooch, cabinet member for adult services (county councillor for South Ribble West)

Councillor Driver said: “We have one purpose as an organisation and that is to serve the people of Lancashire.

“The council clearly faces financial challenges and our first priority is to ensure that we develop a way forward that will enable us to continue to provide the services that our residents need.

“That will include looking at where we spend the money that we do have, to ensure that the frontline services valued by our residents are protected.

“We are looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work to deliver on our promises.”

In addition to the appointment of the new leadership, today’s full council meeting also saw the announcement of County Councillor Terry Aldridge as its new chairman and County Councillor Anne Cheetham as vice-chairman.

Councillor Driver was arrested along with former County Hall chief executive Phil Halsall, David McElhinney – who was chief executive of the now defunct One Connect and its sister organisation Liverpool Connect – and Ged Fitzgerald the current Liverpool City Council chief executive and former Lancashire County Council chief executive.

A police spokesman said they had been arrested “on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and witness intimidation.”

After being questioned the four were released on bail until June 19.