SEDGEMOOR District Council is the only one of Somerset’s four districts to have a male leader.

Councillor Duncan McGinty was returned as leader on Wednesday afternoon (May 22) at the first full council meeting since the Conservatives won the local elections with a reduced majority.

This is the only district council in Somerset the Conservatives now control, after the Lib Dems increased their majority in South Somerset, Mendip shifted to no overall control, and the new Somerset West and Taunton Council swung to the Lib Dems as the Tories were pushed into third place.

As the new chairman of the council and various committee memberships were decided, opposition members expressed their disquiet at the situation by abstaining from key votes.

Cllr Peter Clayton (Conservative, Burnham North) is the new chairman of the council, while Cllr Alan Bradford (Conservative, North Petherton) will be his deputy.

Cllr McGinty retains his role as leader, a role he has served for the last 14 years, and will also chair the council's property investment board which makes decisions on any commercial investments the council wishes to make.

Labour councillors Brian Smedley and Kathy Pearce will chair the council's two scrutiny committees, while Bob Filmer (Knoll, Conservative) retains his role as chairman of the development committee.

Cllr Polly Costello (Conservative, Wedmore and Mark) will be chairman of the licensing and general purposes committee, Cllr Julie Pay (Conservative, Quantocks) will be chairman of the audit and standards committee, and Cllr Janet Keen (Conservative, Highbridge and Burnham Marine) will be chairman of the Grants Committee.

Cllr Diogo Rodrigues will be the Labour leader on the council while Cllr Bill Revans will carry out the same role for the bolstered Liberal Democrats.

The full council is expected to meet again in July, with a full list of meeting dates to be published on the council’s website in the coming weeks.