New Labour Group Leader, Cllr Claire Douglas
New Labour Group Leader, Cllr Claire Douglas

The council’s main opposition Labour Group has elected Cllr Claire Douglas to be its new leader, meaning she will lead the Group into the 2023 local council election next year.

Cllr Douglas has been working closely with Cllr Pete Kilbane for the past 12 months as Labour’s Deputy Group Leader and the two will now switch roles, with Cllr Kilbane taking on the deputy role.


Labour Group Leader, Cllr Douglas said:

“I’m really honoured that Labour councillors have put their faith in me and I thank all of my colleagues for electing me into this position.

“I look forward to continuing to work very closely with Cllr Kilbane, as we have done for the past year, so in many ways it won’t be a big change.  Our collective focus is on next year’s council elections and demonstrating to York residents why a change is needed, and how they will benefit from that change. 

“I have a lot of experience in the public, private and charity sectors and feel I’ve got a great deal to give in this new role.  Our intention is to continue the work we’ve started and to remove the current administration in 12 months’ time.   

“Politics in York desperately needs cleaning up and that won’t happen with the status quo.  York needs to wipe the slate clean and start afresh, and move on from the Lib Dems’ failing services and six figure payouts to save their leader’s own skin.  If Labour is in power come next May, I can assure York residents the clean-up starts from day one”.


Cllrs Kilbane and Douglas each nominated the other for their respective new positions at the Labour Group’s AGM today.  Should Cllr Douglas be re-elected in May 2023, it raises the possibility of City of York Council seeing its first woman leader since the council was first formed in 1996.


Cllr Kilbane welcomed the Labour Group’s decision, commenting:

“Since Claire came into the Labour team she’s shown not only that she’s able to lead it, but that she would excel at leading the council too.  She is already working with city partners looking to take York forward, something that’s simply not happening under the current Lib Dem-Green administration.   

“Claire has a solid business background and also founded a nationally-recognised charity dealing with difficult social problems here in York. She sees the issues and potential solutions with a 360 degree round vision.

“We will continue to work closely together for the good of the city. I will move more of my focus towards the election campaign as York desperately needs a new Labour administration to tackle the enormous challenges the city faces, and to seize the opportunities that can deliver a better future for all York residents.

“It would also be a great honour to be part of the same team should York see its first ever woman elected Council Leader come this time next year”.

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