Councillor James MacCleary is the new leader of Lewes District Council after being elected at a meeting of Full Council this evening (18 July 2022).
Councillor MacCleary secured the leadership after defeating Councillor Isabelle Linington by 20 votes to 13, with one abstention.
A Co-operative Alliance has controlled Lewes District Council since 2019 and rotates the leadership on an annual basis. The outgoing leader is Councillor Zoe Nicholson who was elected in 2021.
Councillor MacCleary said: “I want to thank Zoe for leading the Co-operative Alliance so effectively and driving forward so many important areas of work.
“The last 12 months have been tough for many of our residents and the next year will only get even more challenging as the cost-of-living crisis bites even deeper into household budgets. The rising costs will create acute hardship for many and Zoe’s priority to support the most vulnerable will not change under my leadership, we have to do everything we can to help.
“The Co-operative Alliance has also overseen the delivery of new council housing, continued work to tackle climate change and launched one of the most ambitious capital programmes the council has ever seen.”
Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, Labour and Independents make up the Co-operative Alliance, with leaders coming from the two largest parties.
Councillor Zoe Nicholson said: “It is testament to the enduring strength of the Co-operative Alliance that we have accomplished so much over the last three years, despite the colossal challenges posed by the pandemic, and now, the cost-of-living crisis.
“I have always enjoyed working with James and know that he will continue our focus on helping the most vulnerable residents through this food and fuel price crisis, continuing the journey to carbon net zero and developing more affordable homes for local people.”
The council recently delivered information to every home in the district with money saving advice, ways to reduce energy use and where to get extra help when it is most needed.