Sheffield Council leader ‘here to stay’ following challenge

Councillor Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, said she is ‘here to stay’ following a leadership challenge.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 10 May, 2019, 10:48
Councillor Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council. Picture: Marie Caley

Immediately after the local election results, which saw Labour lose five seats and gain one, Coun Dore fended off a leadership challenge by Coun Terry Fox.

Coun Dore, who has led for nearly a decade, won the private vote by 33 to 14.

She said: “I have to go up for election every year, so anyone has a right to challenge and an individual felt they wanted to.

“Thankfully I was overwhelmingly successful so I have the support from my group. It was a mandate from my group to continue on in the way I always have done and therefore I am here to stay as long as my group want me to and as long as I continue to work in the best interests of Sheffield.”

At the local elections last week Labour lost five seats and gained one, the Liberal Democrats gained four, the Green Party gained two and Ukip lost two.

She said the results of the election were “disappointing” and that they would be having “serious conversations” going forwards to address concerns raised by residents during the campaign.

She said: “We have very participative citizens in Sheffield who get involved in TARAs and school governing bodies and community groups. But then there are half a million people in Sheffield – so many just get on with their day to day life.

“Having those one-on-one doorstep conversations during election campaigns brings in that extra knowledge. You get to listen to what they think is right for Sheffield and what their hopes and fears are. That helps you put together the priorities within the portfolios.”

In particular, she said there was a need for more action on climate change.

In their election manifesto they pledged to bring their carbon neutral target forwards by 20 years to 2030.

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To achieve this, Coun Lewis Dagnall, cabinet member for environment, streetscene and climate change, said they were working with researchers to work out a carbon budget so they can work to specific targets.

As well as pushing forwards with plans for a Clean Air Zone in the city centre which would see buses, taxis, vans and lorries charged daily to use.

Reflecting on the outcome of the local elections and what was said on the doorstep during campaigning, she said: “I don’t particularly want to dwell on one national issue such as Brexit, we all know people feel let down by national politics and it comes on top of things like the MPs expenses scandal – and people are still getting over that.

“Then there’s austerity and people were told at the start ‘we’re all in this together, we will all share the pain’ and quite clearly that was a lie – richer people have got richer and poorer people have been made poorer. So with one thing on top of the other people have got worn down and disillusioned.

“When you look at Mosborough and Beighton ward (where they lost long standing David Barker and Ian Saunders) the Liberal Democrat vote didn’t necessarily go up – the Labour vote dropped.

“I think we locally need to turn that around, I can’t control what arrangements they come to with Brexit but I do desperately hope they hear from local election results.

“We’ve got to pull together because some people are really hurting. Over the next few weeks we need to seriously come up with ways to address their concerns.”

Following the elections, Coun Dore has reshaped the cabinet – introducing some new priorities and fresh faces, including putting ‘climate change’ into Coun Dagnall’s portfolio but said most issues would need to be tackled as a team.

She added: “If everyone is responsible then everyone thinks someone else is doing it so there has to be a clear lead. There are some things that clearly cut across different portfolios like public health, climate change and inequality.”