Victorious party leader steps down for new role

How the future leadership of the council is set to look... Leader Coun Peter Bedford flanked by deputies Couns Raymond Singleton-McGuire (left) and Michael Brookes. DD
How the future leadership of the council is set to look... Leader Coun Peter Bedford flanked by deputies Couns Raymond Singleton-McGuire (left) and Michael Brookes. DD

THE Conservative who led his party to victory in Boston’s council elections has stepped down, paving the way for a former town mayor to become the new borough leader.

Coun Raymond Singleton-McGuire handed over the reigns to Coun Peter Bedford after the Tory victory on Thursday.

Coun Singleton-McGuire along with Coun Michael Brookes are set to assume the roles of deputy council leaders when they return to the chamber for the first time on May 28.

Coun Singleton-McGuire, however, will still be chairman of the Boston branch of the Conservatives and says he is eager to take on the role of finance portfolio holder at the council.

He said this was the main reason he decided to step back and ask Coun Bedford to become leader preferring to use his business background to influence the borough’s purse strings.

He said: “Peter, who has been leader of the party before, is a very good ambassador and figurehead for the authority.

“If you haven’t got the finance of an authority in order, then your authority’s in trouble.”

He said this was his chance to give something back to Boston and to help make the council stronger.

“If Boston does well, I’ve done well,” he said.

“If Boston fails, then I have failed... and I hate to fail.”

Coun Bedford, who also represents Boston’s Coastal division at Lincolnshire County Council, said he elected to have two deputies after seeing it work well at county level.

He said: “This way round it relieves quite a lot of pressure because it means one councillor at a time can be in the municipal buildings a day apart.

“It allows you to be away from the office and know you have got a deputy leader that’s capable to cover at all times.”

Coun Brookes said he was ‘happy’ to take on his new role.

Coun Bedford confirmed other cabinet positions would be filled at the earliest opportunity.

l See pages 12-15 for full election coverage.