At tonight's AGM at Thanet Council, Rozanne Duncan abstained from voting. By this one simple action, a whole series of events was put in place that saw Iris Johnston established as the new leader of Thanet Council.
To understand how this happened, you need to understand the intricate of the voting system at Thanet Council. There are 56 councillors, therefore you need 29 votes to get a majority. However, if there is a tied vote (28 to 28) then the Chair of the meeting has the casting vote and they always vote for their party.
This happened a number of times tonight. The vote was perfectly split with all the Labour councillors and two independents voting one way and all the rest voting another. Each time this happened, the Chair gets to vote again and this resulted in Labour wins.
But there is one exception. One vote in every year where the normal votes don't apply. And that happened tonight.
It happens when you vote in a new Chair.
Because for this one vote of the year, there is no-one in the chair who can have a casting vote.
If the vote is split 28 to 28 and with no vote in place, apparently, the vote goes to a more draconian method of selection - the tossing of a coin.
A pure 50/50 chance of winning or losing.
And when you have the chair, you have the casting vote.
So this is a crucial vote. Possibly the most important vote of the year when you don't have an overall majority. Because - as stated earlier - the chair has the casting vote.
Two candidates were put forward to be Chair tonight. Kay Dark (LAB) - the previous Chair. And David Saunders (CON).
The vote was called. As expected, the 26 Labour councillors and two independents voted for Ms Dark. 28 votes
For Mr Saunders, the 23 Conservatives voted along with the three Independent Group candidates and one UKIP candidate. 27 votes.
Rozanne Duncan abstained. No need for a coin toss. The motion carries by one vote - Kay Dark is now the Chair of TDC.
On the vote for Vice Chair of the Council, 28 voted for Harry Scobie (Lab), 28 voted for Jason Savage (Con). The Chair had the casting vote. Harry Scobie is elected.
After this patten is established, it becomes clear that the Chair will always have the casting vote. Ian Driver (Green) notes this and abstains from a number of key votes, knowing that it will always end this way.
After this, it all went smoothly and included Clive Hart becoming the vice-chair for Planning. A drop in stature but many see this as a bizarre decision.
Perhaps if an independent chair had been suggested by the Tory leader, Rozanne Duncan may have voted differently. But Bayford got greedy.