New Leeds Council leader in just two weeks’ time

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The soon-to-be new leader of Leeds City Council James Lewis is expected to officially take up the post later this month, it has been revealed.

It follows the announcement late last year that incumbent council leader Judith Blake would be given a life peerage in the House of Lords, which is likely to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Coun Lewis has also announced a reshuffle of senior appointments in his incoming administration, with Coun Blake and Coun Lisa Mulherin making way for new appointments Coun Salma Arif, Coun Mary Harland and Coun Helen Hayden.

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Former portfolio holder for adults and health Coun Rebecca Charlwood stepped down as an executive member recently, with Coun Fiona Venner – herself an executive member for children and families – temporarily stepping in.

James Lewis is set to become Leeds City Council leader by the end of this month.James Lewis is set to become Leeds City Council leader by the end of this month.
James Lewis is set to become Leeds City Council leader by the end of this month.

In addition to his responsibilities as Council Leader, Councillor Lewis will also continue as the Executive Member for Resources.

Councillor James Lewis, (Deputy Leader of Council and Leader Elect of the Labour Group) said:

“I’m pleased to announce that Salma Arif, Mary Harland and Helen Hayden who are new to Executive Board will work alongside the rest of my Executive team.

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“These arrangements bring a breadth of experience from Councillors who represent a diverse range of residents and communities across Leeds.

“They will provide stability in the council’s political structure until the local elections and they will help the city navigate a crucial period in our response to the pandemic.”

A motion to elect Councillor James Lewis as Leader of Leeds City Council will be voted on at a Full Council meeting on Wednesday, February 24.

The appointments in full:

Councillor Debra Coupar – Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Communities

Councillor Salma Arif – Executive Member for Public Health

Councillor Mary Harland – Executive Member for the Economy

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Councillor Helen Hayden – Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development

Councillor Jonathan Pryor – Executive Member for Learning, Skills and Employment

Councillor Mohammed Rafique – Executive Member for Environment and Active Lifestyles

Councillor Fiona Venner – Executive Member for Children, Families and Adult Social Care