For not only has she become the first woman leader of Hart Council, she has also been confirmed as the fastest rising Tory in party history.

Husband Mark, also a Hart councillor, said: “There is no-one else the Conservative party is aware of who has gone from being non-elected to being a council leader in just 53 weeks. No female has done that in Conservative Party history and we are delighted.”

Cllr Fullbrook, 43, beat off opposition from Liberal Democrat group leader David Simpson to take the political hot seat by 20 votes to ten at a full council meeting on Tuesday.

She takes over from Robert Benford, who is facing a rocky ride over plans to build a scrambling track at his farm in Odiham.

Five parish councils joined forces to attack the scheme, which came under fire during a public meeting attended by 400 people last month.

But Cllr Fullbrook said her appointment had nothing to do with the scrambling track plan.

“Robert and I were both up for election at the Conservative group AGM,” she said. “We both outlined our proposals for the coming year and his application was never mentioned, so I don’t think that’s an issue.

“I think it was a case of me doing a good job with the Operation Hart Broke campaign and delivering a 2.5% council tax increase. Basically my colleagues want more of the same.

“We put it to the vote and I won. I understand it wasn’t close but I do not know what the result was.”

Cllr Fullbrook, who lives in Dogmersfield and represents Church Crookham West, thanked Cllr Benford for his leadership over the last year.

“I look forward to continu-ing the good work and building on the achievements of the last 12 months,” she said.

After the meeting Cllr Fullbrook vowed to continue the attack on red tape so that savings can be redirected into front line services, keep next year’s council tax down, launch a district-wide blitz on litter and repeat the Operation Hart Broke campaign if needed.

Brian Leversha was elected council chairman while fellow Tory Anthony Barrell — who held his Fleet North seat by just 19 votes earlier this month — was voted in as vice-chairman.

He beat Liberal Democrat group candidate Brian Blewett and Independent nomination Stephen Gorys.

But Cllr Jan Pearson, who quit the ruling Tory group to join the Independents, slammed the decision, saying the Conservatives should have nominated Liberal Democrat Viv Street for chairman.

Cllr Street was due to take up the role last year but declined because her husband had died.

“Common sense told me that if Cllr Street was unable to accept the position of chairman in very sad circumstances last year, then she should have been supported as chairman this year and not offered second best,” said Cllr Pearson.

“I believe the Conservatives have showed their true side by not supporting Cllr Street as chairman. They showed again that they want total control of even the non-political positions.

“This was very much in evidence when they did not support either Cllr Blewett, who has served on the council since 1989, or Cllr Gorys, who was first elected in 1994.”

Cllr Pearson said she received an e-mail from retiring chairman Jonathan Glen outlining the criteria needed for the position of chairman.

“The e-mail states it is an honorary position that is traditionally offered to a councillor who has served on the council for some time and who other councillors feel will best represent Hart,” she said.

“So do I take from this that even though councillors Blewett and Gorys where both nominated and are both long-serving members of the council, the Conservatives decided that Cllr Anthony Barrell — who like myself has only been there for a year — is better placed to represent Hart?

“Are the Conservatives just control freaks as Peter Carr thinks, because they have shown they will have what they want even if it may not be the best person for the job?”