Last night gave us the first taste of what the new council is going to be like with our first full (if not ordinary) council meeting since the election.

While the meeting was a ‘special’ council there was still enough there to give a flavour of the next four years. The agenda was fairly light, approval of the new committee structure and executive (I’m now the inelegantly and tautologically titled cabinet member for health, community safety and partnerships) and a bit of a discussion on the reduced fee for Big Lunch street parties. But that was still enough for a couple of maiden speeches and questions from the new members.

And impressive they were, even on the Labour side! It was clear that Labour are no longer reliant on Tony Belton (for whom I have a great deal of respect) but now have several able and talented councillors to support him. And the contributions from our side also showed that we’ve become stronger as a group and the new intake are going to be a superb addition to the council and the borough.

Of course, just being able to speak at a council meeting doesn’t make someone a good councillor. But chatting with colleagues (new and old) after the meeting confirmed my opinions from the meeting.

The public sector is now into one of the most challenging times it has ever faced, but to match it I think we’ve got the most talented set of councillors I’ve known in my time in Wandsworth.

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