THE FORMER leader of Worcestershire County Council is making a comeback to the frontline after being appointed Deputy Leader of the Conservatives at County Hall, the Observer can reveal.
Following a unanimous vote at the party’s annual general meeting last Monday (May 8), Coun Adrian Hardman will return to a top position more than a year after he resigned from leading the authority after he pled guilty to drink driving in January 2016.
Coun Hardman’s new role became available after Anthony Blagg, who served as Deputy Leader for one year, stood down from the County Council at last week’s elections.
Also at the meeting, Coun Simon Geraghty was unanimously re-elected as the Conservative Group Leader.
Following last week’s elections, the Conservatives will return to County Hall with an increased overall majority of 23 seats. This means that Coun Geraghty will almost certainly remain Leader of Worcestershire County Council, and Coun Hardman will become the authority’s Deputy Leader.
A full council meeting is being held on Thursday, May 25 where a vote will be held on the council’s top job, as well as appointments to the Cabinet.
Coun Hardman, who retained his Bredon seat last week, served as Leader of the County Council for five years.
He quit the role in January 2016 after he was handed a 16 month driving ban after pleading guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court for being nearly twice the legal drink-drive limit after being stopped by police.
Speaking to the Observer, Coun Hardman said: “I am delighted to return to the front lines, and I have missed it.
“I am very grateful to the Conservative Group for placing their faith in me.
“This leadership team gives balance to city, town, and rural areas such as my division.
“I am looking forward to getting to work on behalf of the whole of the county.
“I remain grateful to my electors for their support and my colleagues.”