Tories urge more senior Labour councillors in York to step down

Lendal BridgeLendal Bridge
Lendal Bridge
York Conservatives have called for other Labour figures in the city to consider their positions following the decision of council leader James Alexander to stand down.

Conservative councillors were due to press for a motion of no-confidence in Coun Alexander at next month’s full council meeting but the council leader revealed last night he had already taken the decision to stand down and take up a role with the Labour Party nationally.

Coun Chris Steward, leader of the Conservative group on York Council, said: “Like the overwhelming majority of York residents I welcome the news that James Alexander has finally resigned. I wish he had done it long before, but now we must all work together for the good of York rather than the personal attacks and politics of division which have become synonymous with the outgoing leader.

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“It is clear people want the council to provide vital services like the bins, adult social care and repairing potholes rather than vanity projects like an arts barge.

“There have been too many failings of this administration to list and much of the blame goes wider within the Labour Cabinet and there are others who should also resign.”

The Liberal Democrats reacted to Coun Alexander’s decision by promising to press for the full repayment of fines issued during the trial closure of Lendal Bridge to private vehicles, one of the most contentious policies during his time in office.

Coun Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat group leader in York, said: “Whoever leads the council between now and May it is clear that we need to see a wholesale change of policies including repaying all Lendal Bridge fines and halting plans to close Castlegate and Yearsley Pool.

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“The Lendal Bridge trial was the most high profile failure of James Alexander’s term in office. Only by repaying all the fines can we start to repair the deep reputational damage the trial has done to York.”

The authority has already offered those fined during the trial a refund if they apply but the Liberal Democrats will submit a motion the next full council meeting calling for those refunds to be automatic.