East Devon District Council (EDDC) will elect a new leader on Thursday, May 28, after an extraordinary meeting of the authority was called.
It comes following the resignation of Ben Ingham and his Independent Group cabinet colleagues on Monday morning.
EDDC’s under-fire ruling party had faced being overthrown after nearly half of its remaining members quit and joined newly-formed groups which have joined forces.
The Democratic Alliance and Independent Progressive Group have formed a coalition partnership and are seeking to form a new administration.
EDDC will now stage a virtual meeting at 5.30pm on May 28 with a singe item on the agenda: “Elect a new leader for the remainder of the civic year and that council receive the leader’s appointments of the deputy leader and the cabinet and their portfolios.”
Another meeting will be held prior to this at 5pm to decide whether further talks should take place on June 8 to elect a chairman and vice-chairman.
An extraordinary council meeting which was set to take place on Wednesday, May 27, has been called-off accordingly.
The authority’s cabinet had been due to meet today (Wednesday, May 20) but this has also been cancelled.
Members were due to agree a response to the Newton Poppleford and Harpford Neighbourhood Plan and discuss in private the council’s budget position as a result of Covid-19 crisis.
Resigning on Monday, Councillor Ingham said: “I have done my very best to make our council as fit to serve our communities as possible.
He added: “I am sorry to see us forced to stop so soon. I believe the vast majority of people in East Devon will approve of what we have planned and what we have achieved on their behalf.”
Cllr Paul Arnott, leader of the Democratic Alliance, said at the weekend: “We believe there is a secure core of 31 and with more support from the chamber elsewhere, we can at last deliver the majority administration which has been lacking since May 2019.
“While the pandemic crisis has begun, it is likely to run one way or another for at least a year, and this will give us a coherent leadership as we endure the rest of the crisis and make plans to come out of it, so we truly believe that this will be in the public interest.”
EDDC now consists of a combined 31 members of the Democratic Alliance and Independent Progressive Group, 19 Conservatives, and 10 Independents.