THE new leader of the Conservative group on BCP Council says he want to make a fresh start and offer a different and more inclusive style of leadership.

Cllr Bob Lawton was elected by his colleagues on Tuesday, defeating former Bournemouth Council leader Cllr John Beesley by 19 votes to 17.

Cllr Philip Broadhead, who has been a close ally and protege of Cllr Beesley, was voted in as deputy leader.

“I want to be a new broom,” said Cllr Lawton, first elected to Bournemouth Council in 2007 and was cabinet member for housing.

“We need to operate in a more open, transparent, accountable and democratic way. That will be my starting point and that is what I told the group.”

Cllr Lawton said he intended to “reach out” to other groups to explore forming an administration based largely on the 36 seats held by the Tories. Alternatively he may try to run a minority administration with any formal or informal political partners. He planned to talk to chief executive Graham Farrant as a first move.

Some senior Conservatives say the party should strike a deal with the two Green councillors to show progressive credentials. The Conservatives now have limited representation in Poole and Christchurch and most of its BCP councillors represent Bournemouth seats.

But Cllr Lawton added: “My intention is to dispel the fears that this is a Bournemouth takeover. It is all about making BCP work for all residents. We are a family. But at the same time we must recognise the different cultures and historical legacies of the three towns.” Cllr Lawton has a background in industry and manufacturing. It is understood that his rival for the top job, Cllr Beesley, has offered his experience and support to the new leader.