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Leeds elects first female leader

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Leeds City Council has appointed its first female leader.

Judith Blake said she was “proud” and “privileged” to have been elected by her peers in the Labour party.

Cllr Blake, who was previously deputy leader and executive member for children and families, tweeted: “V proud & privileged to be elected as the new Leader of Leeds City Council. Ready to fight against the onslaught of Tory cuts to local govt.”

LGC reported in April that Keith Wakefield had decided to step down from the leader role in order to spend more time concentrating on trying to gain more devolved powers and funding for region. In a subsequent interview with LGC, Cllr Wakefield called on his successor to “rebuild relationships” with the government to enable further devolution to happen.

Leeds City Council is a member of the Core Cities group and was a key player in the negotiations for West Yorkshire’s devolution deal.

Cllr Wakefield said it was “great for Leeds” that Cllr Blake had been elected leader and added on Twitter she was “the first woman to hold the role”.

The appointment of the new leadership team is still to be confirmed at the council’s annual meeting on 21 May, but with the Labour party holding a commanding majority of seats on the local authority the recommendation is likely to be rubber-stamped.

A spokeswoman for the city council told LGC that Cllr Blake’s two deputies are Lucinda Yeadon and James Lewis.

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