WEST Lancashire Council’s Labour group has a new leader for the third time in three years after Cllr Neil Furey stepped down for personal reasons.
Cllr Furey, who was elected as leader when Cllr Paul Cotterill stood down in May, has been replaced by deputy leader Cllr John Fillis.
Cllr Cotterill had been Labour group leader since April 2009, when he defeated Cllr Terry Rice – who died last year – in a vote at the group’s annual general meeting.
Cllr Fillis, of Up Holland ward, has now been elected leader by his fellow Labour councillors, with Cllr Terry Aldridge of Digmoor ward as deputy.
Cllr Fillis said: “I am very honoured and proud to be elected leader of the Labour group.
“Times are hard, so we will be working harder to meet the many challenges faced by local people. It’s important that we work our way out of these troubled times while supporting those most vulnerable in our community.”
Cllr Furey confirmed that he is to continue as councillor for Skelmersdale North and would be seeking re-election for the borough council next May.
He said: “I have resigned from the position of Labour group leader due to personal reasons. I have been extremely honoured to have been the Labour group leader and I have received strong support from local residents.
“I fully support the appointments of John Fillis and Terry Aldridge. John and Terry are very experienced and will ensure Labour continues to provide strong opposition to the Conservatives.”