New make-up for Lancaster City Council Cabinet after Labour members leave to form new group

Labour and Green councillors have now been joined by representatives of the Independent group and the newly-formed Eco-Socialists in a new look Cabinet.

Monday, 4th January 2021, 11:17 am
Updated Thursday, 7th January 2021, 2:59 pm

Labour continues to form the administration but Cabinet changes have resulted from the decision of five councillors to quit the Labour Party and become Eco-Socialists.Former deputy leader Coun Kevin Frea, Coun Alistair Sinclair, Coun Faye Penny, Coun Jack O’Dwyer-Henry and Coun Katie Whearty said that they could no longer sit as Labour councillors due to the party’s "shift to the right" under Keir Starmer.

Coun Frea and Coun Sinclair, who is the former Cabinet Member for Communities and Social Justice, were subsequently sacked from their cabinet roles by leader Erica Lewis.But Coun Lewis has now re-instated Coun Frea to Cabinet, in a Climate Action role.

Coun Frea is the founder and director of Climate Emergency UK Ltd.

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Labour and Green councillors have now been joined by representatives of the Independent group and the newly-formed Eco-Socialists in a new look Cabinet.

In January 2019, he proposed a motion, which was backed by councillors, that Lancaster City Council declares a climate emergency.

This declaration requires it to work towards creating a zero carbon district by 2030.

Coun Frea said: "I'm very pleased to have returned to the Lancaster City Cabinet with the portfolio for Climate Action, which includes taking the recommendations of the People's Jury forward."I fully support the priorities of the majority Co-operative Alliance on climate change, community engagement and expanding the local economy."

Coun Lewis has now appointed Coun Janice Hanson as deputy leader to succeed Coun Frea, and leads a Cabinet of four Labour, four Green, one Independent and one Eco-Socialist councillors.

Coun Kevin Frea.

The appointment of Marsh Ward Coun and former North West MEP Gina Dowding increases the number of Greens in the Cabinet from three to four.

Coun Merv Evans (Westgate) will represent the Independents.

Coun Lewis said: “In these difficult and challenging times, it is important that we find ways to act in the face of uncertainty, to accept the responsibilities to govern and continue to look for the best ways to serve our residents and our region.”

Of the council's 60 seats, Labour have 14, the Conservatives 12, Greens 10, Morecambe Bay Independents nine, Independents seven, Eco-Socialists five and Liberal Democrats

Coun Erica Lewis.

two.

Kellet ward's seat remains vacant until the elections in May.

Cabinet members and their portfolios are:

Erica Lewis (Labour), Leader

Janice Hanson (Labour), Deputy Leader – Economic regeneration and planning

Dave Brookes (Greens) – Natural environment

Gina Dowding (Greens) – Sustainable neighbourhoods

Merv Evans (Independents) – Economic recovery and resilience

Kevin Frea (Eco-Socialists) – Climate action

Tim Hamilton-Cox (Greens) – Sustainable economic prosperity

Caroline Jackson (Greens) – Housing

Jean Parr (Labour) – Arts, culture, leisure and wellbeing

Anne Whitehead (Labour) – Finance and resources