It is a great honour to have been elected as the new leader-elect of Labour in local government.
After a four-month contest, I’ve had a unique opportunity to start a substantial dialogue with Labour groups across the country, who became actively involved in the election and showed their strength in a tremendously high turnout.
There’s a clear appetite for change and I am looking forward to the opportunity to deliver.
I intend to build on the passion and enthusiasm that exists within our councillor base. The Local Government Association must become closer to its members and more ‘bottom up’.
Our councillors represent the Labour Party in communities across the country, and this needs to be reflected in a clearer profile within the party nationally.
Over the years I have always believed in local government as a force for change through empowering local communities. I have had experience across local government - in two-tier and unitary structures, in opposition and in power, at local, regional, national and international level.
We are at a unique crossroads in our political landscape.
The country will decide its political future in the next couple of months, and important English local elections give people the opportunity to have their voice heard in their communities.
It has always been important for local Labour to stand strong with a collective voice within the party, the LGA and nationally.
As we face the urgency of the challenges a new decade brings us - the economy, public services, the environment and governance, to name but a few - we need to make sure local Labour sets out a clear vision for the future, anchored in our values and our principles.
David Sparks, leader elect, Labour group, Local Government Association