Newly appointed deputy leader of Burnley Council speaks of 'clear objectives' for the future

Coun. Margaret Lishman has spoken about her new role as the deputy leader of Burnley Council.
Coun. Margaret Lishman has spoken about her new role as the deputy leader of Burnley Council.

The newly appointed Deputy Leader of Burnley Council has said the authority is setting 'clear objectives' for the benefit of residents.

Liberal Democrat councillor Margaret Lishman said she was looking forward to the role, which she is undertaking for the second time, adding: "I am sorry that the Labour Party has refused to participate in the new administration, which would have reflected the composition of the whole council and respected the decisions of voters in the local elections.

"We face difficult challenges in the light of continued funding cuts from central government, but we are setting clear objectives for the benefit of everyone in Burnley, Padiham and the surrounding villages."

Coun. Lishman, who is a former Mayor and a long serving member of the council was voted in as deputy leader at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday evening. She has already served as executive member for Resources.

The new leader of the council is former Mayor and Burnley and Padiham Independent Party councillor Charlie Briggs.

Prior to the meeting detailed talks were held 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.

But the Labour Party rejected the proposals and opposition members then united as a 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.

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 Council’s new executive member for Economy and Growth, Coun. Gordon Birtwistle, said: “I have campaigned and fought for jobs and businesses in Burnley throughout my political life in the borough, as a councillor, as Leader of the Council and as our Member of Parliament.

"I am looking forward to my role in building the economy of Burnley and bringing more jobs and investment into the town."