The Liberal Democrat councillor Clive Bennett was last night appointed Mayor of Lambeth as Labour’s Christiana Valcarcel ended her year in the role.
The role is largely a ceremonial one and involves attending local events, raising money for charities and chairing council meetings.
In his inaugural speech, Bennett said he was keen to use the role to promote enterprise in Lambeth. “I want to make Lambeth a worthy place for investment south of the river,” he said.
Welcoming Bennett to the post, Steve Reed, leader of Lambeth Council, said: “People like personality in their mayor, and personality is something that Councillor Clive has in buckets.”
The Liberal Democrat councillors Ashley Lumsden and Alex Davies had called for councillor Judy Best to become mayor. She resigned as deputy mayor last year when after her and her two sons were arrested over an assault in Streatham. She was later fully cleared of any allegations.
In a speech supporting Best, Davies said: “She may have had the year from hell. But her experience of injustice makes her a more suitable candidate to be mayor this year than last year.”
But the Labour councillor Matt Bennett said: “When she resigned as deputy mayor she made no mention of an intention to return to the role, nor is there any provision in our system for her to do so.” Bennett accused Lumsden and Davies of “turning on one of their own members” by backing Best over Clive Bennett.
The motion to appoint Best was defeated in a vote. Also at last night’s meeting, the Labour councillor Mark Bennett was appointed deputy mayor.