Fresh start pledge from new York Council leader

Dafydd WilliamsDafydd Williams
Dafydd Williams
THE new leader of the Labour group on York Council has called for a change in the way politics is done in the city.

Dafydd Williams was chosen to take over the leadership by fellow Labour councillors on Saturday following James Alexander’s decision to step down.

Labour is the single biggest party on York Council and Coun Williams will be put forward to fill the role of council leader also left vacant by Coun Alexander.

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However, recent defections mean the party no longer enjoys a majority and it is possible opposition groups could choose to join forces and block Coun Williams’s nomination.

Speaking after his election as group leader, Coun Williams said: “I’m really looking forward to the challenge and the chance to change the way politics is done in York.

“Too often our politics has been done by attacking individuals and negative campaigning, which leaves residents cold.”

Coun Williams takes over six months ahead of all-out elections in York and at a time when the authority is wrestling with a string of hugely contentious issues including development of the city’s local plan which includes proposals for thousands of new homes.

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The handling of the trial closure of Lendal Bridge to private cars and the later repayment of fines to drivers also remains controversial.

Liberal Democrat group leader Keith Aspden said: “I hope that we will see meaningful change in his group’s policies.”

Coun Williams has represented the Westfield ward since 2011 but will contest the Heworth ward in next year’s council elections.

Outside his council responsibilities he is the head of public affairs at Yorkshire Water.