Shropshire Council nominates Malcolm Pate as new leader

Malcolm Pate Image copyright Shropshire Council
Image caption The Conservative group on Shropshire Council unanimously voted to nominate Malcolm Pate as the new leader

A former leader of a Shropshire council is stepping back into the role after his successor left the position.

Malcolm Pate led Conservative-run Shropshire County Council until 2009 when it became the unitary Shropshire Council. He then lost his position to Keith Barrow.

Mr Barrow quit two weeks after he admitted failing to declare a relationship.

The council's Tory group unanimously nominated Mr Pate as leader.

The move is expected to be made official at the next full council meeting on Thursday 17 December, said Shropshire Council.

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The Albrighton councillor will give up his role as chairman of the council.

He said there were "difficult times ahead", but his previous experience as leader would be "a tremendous help" in dealing with those problems.

He said he hoped to make the council more "transparent, consensual and open".

Image caption Council leader Keith Barrow apologised for failing to declare a conflict of interest

Mr Barrow announced he was stepping down, as leader and as councillor for Oswestry South, on Friday, two weeks after he accepted he had failed to comply with the council's code of conduct by not declaring a relationship.

West Mercia Police said it had received a complaint regarding "misconduct in public office involving a man from Shropshire". Mr Barrow said he was unaware of the complaint.

The BBC understands the complaint relates to the Conservative leader.

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