Opposition members decried the the number of Conservatives appointed to chair scrutiny of Gloucestershire County Council’s work when posts were divvied up at its annual meeting on May 16.

Leaders of the Liberal Democrat and Labour/Green groups criticised the appointment of Conservative councillors to all but one committee chair, pointing out the party also leads the county’s administration.

“It’s very unhealthy,” said Stonehouse councillor Lesley Williams, who leads the Labour/Green group.

“Sometimes when governing it’s better to have critical friends.”

Aside from picking who gets to steer oversight, councillors voted in Andrew Gravells and Patrick Molyneux - both Conservatives - as the new chair and vice chair respectively of GCC as a whole.

Cllr Gravells, who represents Abbey, steps up from the role of vice-chairman and brings him many years experience serving as both a county councillor and city councillor..

He said: “I’m very proud to be appointed as chair of this council.

“It’s such a wonderful honour and a privilege to be given this opportunity by my colleagues here and the voters of Abbeymead and Abbeydale for putting me here in the first place.

“I want to take any opportunity during the year to raise some funds for the excellent oncology centre in Cheltenham whenever and wherever I can.”

Conservative county councillor for Sedbury Patrick Molyneux, becomes the new vice-chairman. He is also the current chairman of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee.

Cllr Molyneux said: “It’s a great honour to be made vice-chairman and I look forward to working closely with cllr Gravells and the other members of the council.”

The outgoing chairman, Conservative county councillor for South Cerney, Cllr Shaun Parsons, reflected on his year in the chair: “It’s been a privilege to represent Gloucestershire as chair of the county council.

"I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my year as chairman and all the duties I’ve been involved in. I especially look back on welcoming all our British citizens from across the world.”