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HomeNewsKirkstall councillor keeps her place on executive board

Kirkstall councillor keeps her place on executive board

By David Spereall, local democracy reporter

The former chief whip of Leeds City Council’s Labour group has been promoted in a minor reshuffle of senior positions.

Councillor Jess Lennox, who was responsible for party discipline, has become the authority’s executive member for housing, which oversees the running of the council’s housing stock in the city.

Her old job of chief whip has been taken by Weetwood councillor Emma Flint.

The identity of the council’s frontbench otherwise remains the same, although some councillors have taken on new duties as part of their roles.

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, who was previously in charge of housing, now has responsibility for the council’s climate change policy, as well as environmental matters.

Councillor Helen Hayden, who was previously in charge of climate change, remains the executive member for infrastructure and sustainable development.

Elsewhere, responsibility for social care in Leeds has now been split between two councillors.

Councillor Salma Arif now has had adults’ social care added to her duties, while remaining in charge of the city’s approach to public health issues.

Councillor Fiona Venner has kept her portfolio as executive member for children’s social care and health partnerships, which oversees links between the council and the NHS.

The reshuffle follows a successful local elections for the Labour group, who made a net gain of five seats to leave the party with a majority of 23 – it’s biggest for nearly a decade.

Council leader James Lewis said: “Many Leeds residents are struggling with the national cost of living crisis making life harder for lots of people, so I’m pleased to announce a team of executive members to provide political leadership for the council to do all we can to help people through the crisis by tackling poverty and inequalities.

“We know that many residents are also suffering because of the national crisis in housing, including the shortage of good quality affordable housing, so I am pleased to appoint a new executive member for housing to lead our work in this area.”

The executive board in full

Councillor James Lewis – council leader

Councillor Debra Coupar – deputy leader and executive member for resources

Councillor Jonathan Pryor – deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education

Councillor Salma Arif – executive member for adult social care, public health and active lifestyles

Councillor Mary Harland – executive member for communities

Councillor Helen Hayden – executive member for sustainable development and infrastructure

Councillor Jess Lennox – executive member for housing

Councillor Mohammed Rafique – executive member for climate, energy, environment and green space.


  1. Another money grabbing opportunity for councillors! How about you stop spending our hard earned council tax money of tin pot ideas? Go on tell the public how muchn moneyn you wasted on the tram idea? I dare you?


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