IF there is one person not to be under-estimated in the new Labour regime, it is the Deputy Leader Val Morris-Cook. It would inaccurate to describe her as having spent years in the shadow of former councillor and mayor Carl Morris. Anyone who knows Val, respects the work that she has done behind the scenes, the sage advice and the experience gained from the world of industry. Indeed, Val’s work commitments have sometimes meant that she often arrives in the council chamber fresh off the work site (Project Manager at Wincanton) but other times she is in her finery, having won another award for the profession.
So, for Val, the timing seems right that she should step up to the plate. Leader John Kent and Val appear to compliment each other. John’s considered approach aligned with Val’s management and motivational skills. She will need them: “managing” Mayor Ann Cheale, tutoring new Portfolio Holders, teaching some of the old Labour dogs,new tricks. Val will need all her key skills to nurture and develop her team. If anyone can do it, Val can.
It was of course Val who brought spinmeister Alastair Campbell to the Thameside Theatre and a touch of iron fist in the velvet glove may be what is needed.
YourThurrock interviewed Val to assess what she saw as Labour’s key challenges, how she would cope with the economic demands, the waste, the wafer thin majority, the morale in Thurrock Council and discipline in the chamber.