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York Council Conservatives Elect New Leader

Chris Steward 171213

8:01pm 17th December 2013

Conservatives in York have elected Cllr. Chris Steward, 33, as the new group leader on York Council.  Chris Steward replaces Ian Gillies, group leader since 2007, who will step down as of the first of January prior to becoming Lord Mayor of York for the 2014-2015 civic year.

Chris Steward, who's lived in York all his life, said:

“I am greatly looking forward to building on the group’s progress to date and ensuring that we continue to hold Labour accountable for their many failings, from cutting residents’ salt bins to their misjudged rush into the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.  Our group is looking towards the council elections in 2015 and we will be working relentlessly to get rid of this terrible Labour administration which is doing so much harm to the city of York.”

He's already come under attack from the ruling Labour Group, Chair of York Council's Labour Group, Joe Riches said:

"Councillor Steward is the new young face of the same old Tories. Given the chance to change, only Tory councillors would choose to be led by a stockbroker who's a strong advocate of the Bedroom Tax, who made national news by saying there is no real poverty in Britain and no need for foodbanks. On a personal level we wish him all the best, but we have very serious differences with the views he has espoused in the past. And as if that wasn't bad enough, he's also a Leeds United fan."

Meanwhile, current Labour council leader James Alexander, who will go head to head with Chris Steward, and Lib Dem leader Keith Aspden in the York Council elections in 2015 also gave his reaction:

“I wish Councillor Steward well as the new leader of the opposition and I look forward to him announcing where he now stands on the big issues facing York. I already disagree with his view that being council leader should be a part time a job."

“It is quite unique for the choice for council leader at the next local elections being between three people in their early thirties. This time I am not the youngest.”

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