Labour now leads in local government

Labour is the Largest Party in Local Government

Cllr David Sparks is to succeed Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell as Chairman of the Local Government Association, the body which represents councils in England and Wales.


Councillor Sparks has been nominated by the LGA Labour group as its candidate for the role after last week's local election results made the Labour party the largest group within the LGA.


Current chairman Sir Merrick Cockell's term of office will come to an end on 8 July, on the opening day of the LGA's Annual Conference when the cross-party General Assembly will confirm Cllr Sparks into the position.


Cllr Sparks, currently leader of the LGA Labour group, will become the LGA's sixth Chair. He will be the first from the Labour Party since 2004.


Chair-elect Cllr David Sparks said: "I am excited and honoured at the prospect of serving as Chair of the LGA.


"These are crucial times for local government and it will be vital that we continue to speak with one unified voice. Sir Merrick built a rapport across all parties during his time as chair, and I am determined to continue that consensus approach.


"There is a desire across the political spectrum for the LGA to be robust in our dealings with government, while able to work constructively with ministers. As a Labour chairman I will be able to put forward a strong case for local government from a position outside the Coalition parties. I will be a staunch advocate for councils of all types and political make-ups.


"The best relationships within a democracy are those built on mutual respect. There has never been a time when that approach is more important than at this moment. The key priority for all of us now is to ensure that this government, and whoever makes up the next one, commits to a genuine devolution of powers to local areas to safeguard the future of public services."


Current LGA Chairman Sir Merrick Cockell said:


"The LGA's strength lies in its ability to speak with one voice on behalf of local government, regardless of political party.


"While the political leadership of the LGA is changing, under David's chairmanship I know that it will continue to be a united voice for councils of all types and political persuasions.


"Over the past three years local government has been at the forefront of the debate on the future of the public sector. In Rewiring Public Services we made a compelling case for radically changing the way local services are provided and paid for. The challenge for the LGA and its next chairman will be to build on this work by looking beyond this parliament and making the case for change to the next government. The need for a united voice for local government has never been greater."

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