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Langhorn back as City Council leader, new lead for Conservative Group

John Freeman
(Updated 19/5/10): Lancaster City Council’s executive decision making body will once again be made up on the basis of proportional representation, with LibDem Councillor Stuart Langhorn again elected as Leader last night.

Under its constitution the city council’s Cabinet and Leader must be elected annually at the first meeting of the municipal year.

At this year’s meeting, held last night, full Council voted again to establish the Cabinet on the basis of proportional representation.

All six of the groups are entitled to take up seats in ratio to the number of members in each of the political groups on the Council.

Coun Stuart Langhorn was elected as Leader of the Council for the forthcoming year to May 2011.

As well as Coun Langhorn (Liberal Democrat) the members of the Cabinet elected for 2010/11 are: Councillors David Kerr and June Ashworth (Independents), Abbott Bryning and Eileen Blamire (Labour), Jon Barry and Jane Fletcher (Green), Paul Woodruff (Free Independent).

Two vacancies remain open for the Conservatives, who recently decided to become the 'official opposition'.

Also elected at the meeting last night were the chairmen of all the council’s committees. Coun John Gilbert was elected as chairman of Overview and Scrutiny, and he is joined by Coun Roger Sherlock as Chairman of Budget and Performance Panel.

Coun Eileen Blamire was elected as chairman of the Planning and Highways Regulatory Committee.

Other Committee chairmen appointed at the meeting were:

Coun Tony Wade: Licensing Regulatory Committee
Coun Joyce Taylor: Licensing Act Committee
Coun Susan Bray: Personnel Committee
Coun Sheila Denwood: Appeals Committee
Coun Malcolm Thomas: Audit Committee
Coun David Kerr: Appraisal Panel
Coun Karen Leytham: Council Business Committee

In other Council-related news, longtime Conservative leader of their group Roger Mace has stepped down in favour of Councillor Peter Williamson.

"I'm pleased that the result of the general election has demonstrated increased support for Conservatives in the Lancaster District," says Roger. "That is the objective to which I have been working for a number of years - most particularly as Leader of the Conservative Group on the City Council since 2006.

"In that role, I have been encouraged by the support I have received from my family and my colleagues, and from all the local people who have given their time to help me in various ways.

"I have decided the time has come for another Councillor to lead the Group, and prepare for next year's City Council elections."

The Conservatives continued decision to not take up its seats in Cabinet has been given short shrift from some. Green Party cabinet member Jane Fletcher said: "Given the current national spirit of co-operation between the political parties, I was saddened that the local Conservative group would rather be the
opposition than work positively for the good of the district."