CHESHIRE East Council has elected its new leader, Cllr Rachel Bailey, who was voted in by a landslide at Thursday’s full council meeting.

It was a battle of the Bailey’s as Cllr Rachel Bailey gained 53 votes after being opposed by labour councillor, Damian Bailey.

Cllr Damian Bailey, ward councillor for Crewe St Barnabas, received 17 votes of support, while nine of the 79 councillors abstained from voting.

Lib Dem councillor, Derek Hough, said at the meeting: “I have no doubt that he (Cllr Damian Bailey) is a very able young man. However in Rachel Bailey we have someone who most of us have worked with over a period of time and respect her judgement.

“She will not have the bombast of the previous leader. I am quite happy with Rachel Bailey and I think it will be generally a more open and conclusive council.”

Cllr Steve Hogben, labour councillor for Crewe South, spoke in favour of Cllr Damian Bailey.

“Four years, it’s like a life sentence,” he said. “It’s not one year unless the leader chooses to step down. I would like to draw that to members’ attention. It is a decision for life, or certainly the life of this council.

“I would like to commend the qualities of Damian Bailey who is young and energetic. We need to look to the future, put your faith in Damian Bailey.”

Following the vote both councillors were invited back into chamber, where Cllr Rachel Bailey was presented with flowers and received Cheshire East Council leader status.

She made a short speech to the council: “It was good to discover it was going to be a Bailey rally. I look forward to serving this council and this great borough of Cheshire East.”

Council leader Rachel Bailey addressed the council officially with a speech at a meeting on Friday, February 26.