New trio at the helm of city’s council

New Leeds council leader Judith Blake and deputies James Lewis and Lucinda Yeadon.  Picture: Bruce Rollinson
New Leeds council leader Judith Blake and deputies James Lewis and Lucinda Yeadon. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

The trio that will spearhead Leeds City Council take office for the first time today in their new roles.

Newly-elected leader of Leeds’ ruling Labour group, Councillor Judith Blake, was officially voted in as leader of the city’s council at Civic Hall yesterday (Thursday).

Coun Blake will be joined at the helm by deputy leaders Councillors Lucinda Yeadon and James Lewis.

The trio’s roles were confirmed at the council’s annual general meeting.

Changes in the leadership come after Coun Keith Wakefield stepped down as leader of the Labour group following 12 years in charge.

Coun Blake said: “It is vital that we have a strong team who are committed to doing everything we can to support and protect the people who are in most need of our help – a team which will work hard to help our city to continue to grow and succeed and meet any challenges head-on.

“I intend to build on the exceptional work of my predecessor Coun Keith Wakefield and am very much looking forward to the challenges of leading such a large, vibrant and diverse city – we have a very bright and exciting future ahead of us.”

New members of the council’s executive board were also unveiled as part of the reshuffle.

Coun Debra Coupar will take up the role of executive member for communities while Coun Mark Dobson has become executive member for environmental protection and community safety.

The executive member for regeneration, transport and planning is Coun Richard Lewis and Coun Lisa Mulherin was chosen as executive member for health, wellbeing and adults.

Coun Mohammed Rafique is the new executive member for employment, enterprise and opportunity.

Coun Blake added: “We will continue the fantastic work which has already begun to put Leeds firmly on the map, both nationally and internationally through events like the Tour De France Grand Départ, and the British Art Show 8 later this year, as well as next year’s World Triathlon Series and of course our bid to be the European Capital of Culture 2023.

“However, we also have a very determined focus on working to create jobs and future opportunity, particularly for our young people. In attracting and creating work opportunities we also guarantee that the city itself is strong for the future.”

The new Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Judith Chapman, was also sworn at the meeting.

She took over from David Congreve and became the first Jewish woman to hold the post.

To see the full makeup of the city’s council visit