New leader appointed to Burnley Council who pledges 'time has come to move things forward'

Coun. Briggs when he was installed as the Mayor of Burnley last year with his partner Patricia Lunt.
Coun. Briggs when he was installed as the Mayor of Burnley last year with his partner Patricia Lunt.

Burnley Council has appointed a new leader who has pledged his support to the town and its residents.

Former Mayor and Burnley and Padiham Independent Party councillor Charlie Briggs was voted in as the new leader at a special meeting of the full council last night.

This is the second time he has taken on the mantle of leader and this morning vowed to move the troubled council forward saying: "I am from this town. Burnley is my home and the town and its people are what I care about.

"I am Claret and Blue through and through.

"The time has come to move things forward now and I will do my best to see that happens for the sake of the residents of this town.

"I was leader of this council before and I think I did a good job. I helped to bring a lot of money to this town but unfortunately that has been squandered.

"I will be meeting with the executive to look at moving things forward."

Detailed talks were held prior to the meeting after Labour lost five seats in the borough elections and also its town hall majority at a previous meeting of the full council. And all opposition councillors voted against re-appointing Labour leader Coun. Mark Townsend.

Opposition parties made proposals to the Labour group for a shared administration of three Labour members and three members from the opposition parties with a Labour leader of the council.

In a statement today Liberal Democrat councillor.Gordon Lishman, said: "Yesterday, following a Labour Group meeting on Tuesday evening, the Labour Party rejected these proposals.

"We understand that Labour had direct discussions with several of the parties, which failed because of the Labour insistence on only seeking support for a Labour-only administration.

"Opposition members then united at the full council meeting to appoint Coun. Briggs as leader.

"A further offer to the Labour Group for a shared administration was also rejected by the Labour Group."

The new regime means that the Labour group, who still have the largest number of councillors, will now have no say at executive level.

It is understood that Coun. Townsend, the former Leader, accepted the Council’s decision and wished the new administration well but said that his party's value meant they could not work alongside the Conservatives and UKIP parties.

The new executive is composed of members from the Liberal Democrat, Burnley and Padiham Independent Party and Conservative Party. Councillors from the Green Party, UKIP and an independent councillor supported the appointment of the new Leader who appointed the Executive team following consultation.

The new deputy leader is Coun. Margaret Lishman, who will also be the executive member for
resources and performance management. She is a Lib Dem councillor, a former Mayor of
Burnley and a long-serving serving member of the Council, who has already served as Executive Member for Resources.

Coun. Ivor Emo is the executive member for Housing and Leisure. He is a Conservative councillor.

Coun. Gordon Birtwistle is the executive member for Economy and Growth. He is a former Lib Dem Leader of the Council, the town’s former MP, and Burnley’s longest-serving councillor.

Coun. Cosima Towneley is the Executive member for Community and Environmental Services. She is a Conservative councillor and also represents Burnley Rural division on Lancashire
County Council.

Chairs and vice-chairs of council committees have been appointed, drawn from the Labour, Liberal Democrat, Burnley and Padiham Independent Party and UKIP groups. The composition of council committees reflects the membership of the Council.

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