Preston’s Conservative group have appointed a new leader to take them into the all-out election this year.Advertisement
Councillor Sue Whittam is the first ever female leader of the Tory group in the city.
She replaces councillor Neil Cartwright who has decided to step down.
The Preston Rural North councillor says she is now looking forward to appointing her shadow cabinet.
Cllr Whittam, who was first elected in May 2014, told Blog Preston: “I am honoured and proud to become the first woman leader of the Conservative Group at Preston City Council and I will work hard to make sure that all residents of Preston are helped and supported by the Conservatives.
“I want to make a difference and offer the people of Preston an alternative to Labour. I was born in Preston and I love this city.
“I am particularly keen to support women and young people and would encourage them to get involved in their communities and politics.”
Read more: Here’s the final new boundaries for Preston City Council
She also thanked Cllr Cartwright for his support and the work he had done in leading the Tory group.
Councillor Neil Cartwright said: “Last summer I decided that I wouldn’t seek re-election in May. A number of reasons, primarily age, but also our delightful granddaughter now lives in the Wirrall.
“We find ourselves driving over there frequently but we have to fit her in with my Council commitments. I also felt that having been on the Council since 1976, albeit with a break from 1995 to 2002, it was about time to step back.
“Whilst on holiday in November I decided that it really would be better for the Group and the Party if I stepped down as Leader to allow a ‘new team’ (and a new generation) to lead the election campaign.
“I informed two or three close colleagues of my intention on my return and the Group before Christmas.
“I’m delighted that Sue Whittam has been elected as my successor. She will bring new ideas and energy to the Group and will have my total support.”
The Liberal Democract group have a female leader at present, councillor Pauline Brown, and Labour have also had a Labour leader in the past in Preston with Valerie Wise.
May 2019 will see an ‘all-out’ election for Preston City Council, this means there’s a re-drawing of the council wards and boundaries for many seats. Every councillor must stand again if they are in an existing ward.
Read more: What we learned from the 2018 elections in Preston
The total number of councillors is also being decreased by nine in total.
Preston City Council currently has a Labour majority with 35 councillors, the Tories have 15 councillors, Lib Dems on five and there’s two Independent Conservatives who defected from the Tories last year.
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