The former leader of Preston City Council looks set to become an Alderman of the city.Advertisement
Peter Rankin, who was leader of the council twice, has retired from politics as he battles a brain tumour.
Former councillor Rankin led the Labour party between 1997 until 2000 and then again from 2011 to 2018. Both times he was leader of the city council.
He would be the 30th Alderman of the city – a ceremonial titles – and dates back to 1397.
Cllr Rankin’s role as a councillor dates back to 1982 and during his first period on the council he served on 43 committees and was chair or vice-chair of six committees.
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A report to the city council states: “He was Leader of the Council between 1997 until 2000 when he stood down from office. In 2008 he stood again for election and in this second period he served on 17 committees and numerous outside bodies.
“In 2011 when Labour took control of the Council he was appointed as Leader an office he held until he stood down in May 2018.
“During this period, the environment for Local Government has been challenging as the country got to grips with the financial crash and austerity. Throughout, Peter’s objective has been to lead the Council toward stability, and to promote a resilient and thriving city for all Prestonians.”
With the leaders of Sunderland, Wakefield, Derby and Coventry he forged the Key Cities Group which became a special interest group within the Local Government Association.
Former cllr Rankin has been one of the most vocal in calling for a Combined Authority for Lancashire to press the case for devolution and greater budgetary control as Manchester and Merseyside have seen.
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The report goes on to state: “Away from the public stage Peter was frequently and deeply moved by the individual predicaments of his constituents. As a ward councillor he has helped many people solve their problems.
“A man committed to no organised religion and informed by growing up with sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland he has used his position to convene and pull people together. A surprising contradiction, but a mark of the man, is that he chaired the Faiths Forum. He also promoted the Faith Covenant adopted by Council in April. When Preston’s newest community arrived, Peter committed himself to welcoming Syrian refugees fleeing conflict in their own country.
“However, it is in his championing the regeneration of the city centre and in particular the new markets project that Peter has revealed his love for his adopted home. From the outset he gave it his personal commitment, through good times and challenging moments, steering it through to its opening early this year.”
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Peter Rankin is being succeeded as Labour and Preston City Council leader by councillor Matthew Brown.
The full council will meet on Thursday 17 May at 4pm to formally announce the honour of Alderman for Peter Rankin.