Published: 14:00, 19 October 2017
Dover District Council now has a new leader.
Ex-soldier Cllr Keith Morris was voted in at a full council meeting last night.
He replaces Paul Watkins who retired on September 30.
He had been chosen as the Conservative group leader on October 5.
He now said: “It’s an honour to be leading the council at such an exciting time with new investment and jobs across the district.
“ I look forward to working with the community to build on this success to ensure that alongside the physical regeneration we’re now seeing, we deliver a step change in opportunities for all.”
Cllr Morris is from Northumberland and began his working life in the army spending nine years in bomb disposal.
This was followed by a short spell with the now-defunct Royal Ulster Constabulary.
He joined the civil service beginning in a local Jobcentre.
He eventually moved to Whitehall where he worked in a number of policy jobs mainly in the employment and education departments.
Cllr Morris has spent the last 20 years working in the charity sector at a local, regional and national level.
Outside work Cllr Morris has been the treasurer at a children’s nursery, a school governor, a trustee of the Dover and Deal Volunteer Centre.
He also spent eight years as a governor of the then Thanet College, now East Kent College.
Cllr Morris has an MBA from Durham University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.
He is a keen supporter of Newcastle United.
Cllr Morris, like Paul Watkins was, is a Conservative councillor for the St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe ward.
He lives there and is married with two sons.
Paul Watkins, 70, a former state registered nurse, had been in local government since 1983 and had been leader of Dover District Council for the last 14 years.
A by-election to replace Mr Watkins as the second St Margaret’s councillor has been scheduled for November 23.
Competing candidates need to send their nomination papers to the council returning officer by Friday, October 27.