The leader and deputy leader of the Labour opposition on Northumberland County Council are to stand down later this year.
Northumberland Labour has announced the impending retirement from their positions within the group of Coun Grant Davey and Coun Dave Ledger, who also served as leader and deputy leader respectively of the council during the party’s administration from 2013 to 2017.
The pair will stand down from office following the group’s AGM on May 1, as part of what Labour describes as ‘a planned retirement of two long-serving group officers and part of the Northumberland Labour Group’s succession-planning programme’.
Speaking on behalf of the duo, Coun Davey said: “I have proudly led the Labour Group through good times and bad for the last 11 years, for the last six of those ably assisted by my deputy, friend and colleague, Dave Ledger, but as we move forward into the final two years of the current administration’s period in office, our group has always known that a new team with new ideas is required to formulate the manifesto and political campaign for the future.
“It has been a great experience working with some very good councillors and officers and I have enjoyed working in public service at a high level for the people of Northumberland and my own town of Blyth, but like all things in life, change must happen to progress and modernise for the future.
“The group will follow due process and democratically choose its next leader and deputy over the next three months and I will wholeheartedly support whoever is chosen.”
Before Christmas, Northumberland Conservatives called for Coun Davey to resign following the emergence of serious issues at the Briardale Community Centre, where he was a director, and previous concerns about governance and spending at the now-scrapped development company Arch.
At the time, Coun Davey claimed that ‘the sword of Damocles is hanging by its thread’ above Tory leader, Coun Peter Jackson, who ‘can’t find any good news within his administration to crow about’.
He added: “I have no intentions of resigning my seat or position as leader of Northumberland Labour Group at his behest.”
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service