It was somewhat strange that after all the political turmoil in recent weeks I start the new Council with the same committee responsibilities as before - Health Scrutiny, Pensions and Staff Appeals - and even more bizarrely I am the only councillor out of 54 who starts the new Council with precisely the same responsibility as I had before the election, in Chairing the Health Scrutiny Committee.
It was also noticeable that for the next year at least I will be regularly joined by two other councillors on the same committees. Fellow Liberal Democrat Paul Braithwaite and Labour's returning Peter Brayshaw will serve on Health Scrutiny and Pensions with me. The latter was also nominated to serve with me on the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which may still need to sit to consider the reconfiguration of acute services in the North Central London area's hospitals.
One noticeable absentee last night was Keith Moffitt who had obviously suffered a turbulent 24 hours of emotions since Tuesday night. He was jubilant at the Haverstock count, having put in many hours in support of the campaign there, only to discover his brother was gravely ill in Sheffield where he had since travelled to be by his bedside. The whole Council appeared genuinely concerned at this news when it was announced at the meeting by Russell Eagling.
The post-AGM gossip included speculation about the deferred election of the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on the Council, deferred because Janet Grauberg had sadly lost out in Kilburn ward on 6th May, and we were waiting for the full Group to be available before making a decision. I had made my pitch to support Matt Sanders at a dinner before going to the by-election count for Haverstock ward, and by the time I spoke personally to Matt to explain why I wanted him to do it after the AGM, he had already heard about the "rumour" from both Keith Moffitt and members of the Labour Group. He was at least pleased to know it was me who had initiated the idea with Jill Fraser and Flick Rea at dinner, although I had also suggested this to Keith some time before.
Nancy Jirira wanted to generate a contest for the post, arguing that it would be a better balance if we had a woman as Deputy Leader. I was more concerned about getting someone from the new generation who offered a better geographical perspective. Time will tell on this one but I think Matt has already garnered a head of steam for his campaign.
I always follow Jimmy Greaves' motto - "equalise before the other side scores" - when I think something should be done, so my taking the early initiative in promoting Matt for the post should make him successful.