MOVES to choose Bridport’s next mayor by secret ballot have failed.

Coun Gillian Summers wanted to see the ceremonial post – and that of the deputy mayor and council leader – chosen by councillors without regard to party politics.

She said: “I am concerned that some members may not feel comfortable voting for the person they really want with a public show of hands.”

Coun Summers, pictured below right, made a plea at last week’s town council meeting for the return the tradition of sharing the mayoral role equally among all parties and proposed independent councillor David Tett.

She added: “We have had a Lib-Dem mayor for the last 11 years except for one.

“Coun Tett is an independent which is a very good compromise for the council, and the people of Bridport would not feel that the Liberal Democrat council was scraping the barrel to find one of their own who is prepared to do the job.

“Since the introduction of politics into the town council the old tradition in Bridport of circulating the role of mayor equally among the various parties has been disregarded.”

Coun Dave Rickard proposed Coun Maggie Ray take on the role, having been mayoress for two years.

He said: “She is thoughtful and considered in all of her actions and she has wide experience in council matters and the life of Bridport and that will make her a suitable candidate.”

Coun Geoff Ackerman seconded her saying she would be able to cope with the pressures of the job.

She was voted in on a majority show of hands.

After the meeting, Coun Maggie Ray said: “I don’t want such comments to get in the way of what I want to do as mayor of Bridport.

“My theme for my year is bridge building.

“Since I’ve been on the council we have built two new bridges – Dibdin View and Asker Meadows – that have succeeded in bringing people together.

“I want also to build bridges between all our community groups – including all the political parties – so that we can all work together for the benefit of Bridport.”

Coun Sandra Brown was proposed and accepted for the job of deputy mayor and Coun Sarah Williams for that of council leader.

Speaking after the meeting, Coun Tett said the mayoral vote was a political move by the Liberal Democrats and since they took control in 2003 they had monopolised the offices of mayor, deputy mayor, leader and the chairmanship of the three main committees.

He said: “This is not a question of sour grapes but one of fact.

“A lot of people tell me that despite their political allegiance at national level, politics should not come into matters which concern the town.

“I would like to take a step back in time to pre-2000 when the make up of the town council was one in which all and not just a few of its members, as well as working together, shared the privileged positions.

“The object of all councillors was to work efficiently together to benefit the people of Bridport not the endless bicker of conflicting Westminster inspired agendas.”