Deputy leader to step down as wave of Leeds Labour councillors decide not to seek re-election

Leeds city councillor Lucinda Yeadon
Leeds city councillor Lucinda Yeadon
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She was widely respected both inside and outside Leeds Civic Hall as a hands-on politician who exemplified the human face of local Government - and was tipped by some as a future leader.

But after 10 years as a councillor - in which she spearheaded Leeds’s recovery from the devastating floods of 2015 and held two high-profile cabinet portfolios - Lucinda Yeadon has decided to step down from her role at next year’s all-out local elections.

BLOOMING MARVELLOUS: Coun Lucinda Yeadon, deputy leader of Leeds City Council, at  the LGBT  Leeds Pride 2017 flower bed at Roundhay Park .

BLOOMING MARVELLOUS: Coun Lucinda Yeadon, deputy leader of Leeds City Council, at the LGBT Leeds Pride 2017 flower bed at Roundhay Park .

As well as representing the Kirkstall ward and holding the environment portfolio, Coun Yeadon, 36, is currently one of Leeds City Council’s two deputy leaders, alongside fellow young blood James Lewis.

Coun Yeadon said today: “It’s been 10 years and I’ve loved every minute of it. But it’s time for me to have a new challenge - and start a new chapter.”

She said there had been “so many highlights” of her tenure, the city’s hosting of the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014 being just one of them.

But being involved with the city’s flood recovery effort would remain the “most significant” memory of her political career.

Date:3rd March 2017. Picture James Hardisty.'Cllr Lucinda Yeadon, backing the YEP Keep Leeds Tidy Campaign.

Date:3rd March 2017. Picture James Hardisty.'Cllr Lucinda Yeadon, backing the YEP Keep Leeds Tidy Campaign.

“It was a life-changing experience to be part of something so much bigger than yourself,” she said.

“It was a horrific and at the same time a wonderful time.”

Coun Yeadon has not ruled out a return to politics, and laughed off suggestions that she had been tipped as a future leader of the authority.

“It’s very flattering when somebody asks if you are considering it but for me, it’s about what you want to achieve with your role,” she said.

STEPPING DOWN: Beeston and Holbeck councillor Adam Ogilvie

STEPPING DOWN: Beeston and Holbeck councillor Adam Ogilvie

“I have been incredibly lucky, but it’s definitely the right time.”

She said she was hopeful for the future of the city - and the direction and vision of the council.

“I work with a lot of incredibly committed, talented people who want the best for the city,” she said.

“I don’t think you go into politics without that motivation.
“People go into local Government because they want to improve their city, and improve the lives of people.”

Coun Yeadon said she has not yet decided her future career path, but pledged to remain “very much” part of the city’s life and her campaigning roots.

She is one of a wave of councillors from the ruling Labour group who have decided not to stand for re-election in May 2018, when all of Leeds’s 99 seats across 33 wards will be up for grabs.

The party has been holding a series of selection meetings across the city this month.

A full list of names is yet to be published, but also not standing again are former cabinet member Adam Ogilvie, and his Beeston and Holbeck ward colleague - and former Leeds Lord Mayor - David Congreve.

The YEP understands at least 14 sitting Labour councillors are not seeking re-election.

Asked to reflect on the high number of councillors standing down in 2018, Coun Yeadon said the all-out elections - last held in Leeds in 2004 - are a “natural stepping off point” for many long serving people.

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