Lancaster City Council leader to step down at 2019 election

Coun Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council.
Coun Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council.

The leader of Lancaster City Council has announced her retirement from politics after more than 30 years representing the Labour Party in the city.

Council and Labour group leader, Coun Eileen Blamire, will retire from local politics following next year’s Lancaster City Council elections.

Coun Blamire, who has represented John O’ Gaunt ward on the council since 1987 informed party members that she did not wish to seek re-election next May.

She said that in the meantime she remained committed to leading the group and council and serving local residents.

“I’ve had a long and interesting career, serving as a councillor for more than 30 years, the last seven of which have been as council leader,” she said.

“I want to express my sincere thanks to the voters in John O’Gaunt who have put their faith in me so many times.

“Although I feel as sharp and able as ever, no one can go on indefinitely.

“If we can achieve what we plan to in the next year, progressing exciting plans like the Canal Quarter regeneration, developing new employment sites around the Bay Gateway and investing more money into street cleaning, I will be stepping down with the council and district in a good place.

“Despite crippling Conservative Government cuts, over the past few years we have protected the frontline services people rely upon through careful management of our resources.

“At the same time, we have turned Salt Ayre Leisure Centre into one of the best facilities of its kind in the country, breathed new life into St George’s Quay, made significant improvements to the centre of Morecambe and introduced a new team to tackle anti-social behaviour.

“There is still more to do however. I will remain focused and committed to my ward and our district in the months ahead, determined as ever to make it an interesting, clean, safe and prosperous place to live, work in and visit, with good jobs and homes, a strong local economy and arts and leisure facilities for all.”

Labour group secretary, Coun Darren Clifford, said: “Eileen has served with dignity, dedication and distinction for many years.

“She has done so because she cares deeply about people and wants the very best for our district.

“We have achieved much under her leadership and, against the odds, we are in a much better place than we were seven years ago. It has been a privilege to work alongside her.

“I know that together we will continue to go from strength to strength in the time until Eileen stands aside, but that when that happens, we have the talent within our local Labour Party to build upon her impressive legacy.”

Labour has chosen Faye Penny, Erica Lewis and Alistair Sinclair to contest the three John O’ Gaunt ward seats in next year’s election.