THE NEW chairman of Horsham District Council Claire Vickers stole the limelight at the council’s annual reception when she appeared in a stunning red outfit.
Mrs Vickers had just been elected to the position at the council’s annual meeting - which saw the Conservative-controlled council elect a Lib Dem vice-chair Leonard Crosbie.
Mr Crosbie will become chair in May 2012 - creating the unique situation of a Lib Dem presiding over a Tory district authority. The role is ceremonial.
At last night’s reception to mark the appointments, councillors and members of leading civic bodies celebrated the announcement at The Studio at the Capitol.
Despite the recent election battles, there was no sign of party frictions between Tories and Lib Dems at the celebrations.
Robert Nye, who had been re-elected at council leader was there with his new cabinet - which included deputy cabinet members as well.
For the Lib Dems, Dr David Holmes was clearly pleased that Mr Crosbie had been recognised by the Conservatives for his hard work.
But apart from Mrs Vickers stunning outfit, and the extraordinary sense of political goodwill - although not every Conservative had privately approved of giving high office to the opposition - the other distinguishing factor of the event was the number of young councillors.
The Tory ranks now have many younger members, including the council’s youngest ever representative 19-year-old Josh Murphy - who has written a special article in today’s County Times.