New Leader for Dorset County Council

Cllr Rebecca Knox was unanimously elected as the new Leader of Dorset County Council this morning (Thursday 18 May).

New Leader and Deputy Leader

Cllr Peter Wharf
Cllr Peter Wharf, Deputy Leader of Dorset County Council
Cllr Rebecca Knox
Cllr Rebecca Knox, Leader of Dorset County Council

At their first meeting following the election on 4 May, county councillors voted in Cllr Knox as Leader. Cllr Knox subsequently appointed Cllr Peter Wharf as Deputy Leader.

Cllr Knox said:

“I know we are proud to have been elected to represent and serve Dorset’s communities. We want to make a difference, with commitment, clarity and courage. We are an inclusive council, one which listens to and understands its communities, recognising that each community within Dorset has distinctiveness and varying demands.

“The residents of Dorset have change in their own lives, both individually and as communities, and Dorset County Council continues to adapt and be flexible to that change. Financial constraints face us all, but this should not deter us from our collective aim to listen to residents and use evidence to make sure we are delivering the services that make a positive difference to people’s lives. But we can’t do that by ourselves: we will need to work even more closely with our communities, the voluntary sector and partners to support our residents to be safe, healthy and independent, and to make sure that Dorset is a great place to live and work.”

A new Cabinet

At the council meeting Cllr Knox announced a new-look Cabinet – the executive group responsible for the overall business of the council. Three new faces – Cllrs Peter Wharf, Daryl Turner and Tony Ferrari – join existing Cabinet members Cllrs Knox, Deborah Croney and Jill Haynes.

Dorset County Council's new Cabinet
The new DCC Cabinet takes shape (from l-r): Daryl Turner, Tony Ferrari, Deborah Croney, Jill Haynes, Peter Wharf and Rebecca Knox

A new Chairman for the county council

Cllr Hilary Cox was elected as Chairman – the civic and ceremonial head of the council, with Cllr Andrew Parry appointed as Vice-Chairman.

New Chairman of Dorset County Council, Hilary Cox
Cllr Hilary Cox elected Chairman of Dorset County Council, and receives her chain of office from former Chairman, Andrew Cattaway.

Cllr Cox said:

“It is a tremendous honour to be elected as Chairman of Dorset County Council. I see my role as a key part of local democracy – listening to and learning from people, promoting causes, and working with residents, staff and councillors for the health and prosperity of our communities.”

Committee Chairs were also appointed at the meeting – find the full list of county council committees at

Tributes were paid at the meeting to former Leader, Robert Gould, and former Chairman, Andrew Cattaway.

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