Bright new hope for town’s Labour group

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The Labour group on Cherwell District Council has opted for youth, electing a 26-year-old to replace popular leader Patrick Cartledge following his decision to step down this week.

Mr Cartledge, who has served as leader on two occasions and will continue to stand as Ruscote ward councillor on both the district and town councils, said he took the decision to step down for personal reasons and on Monday the Labour group elected Banburian Sean Woodcock as leader.

Mr Cartledge said he had enjoyed the role but backed Mr Woodcock as a “bright young hope” for the party.

“It’s a small group on the council but we’ve asked some questions of the leadership and it looks bright for the future,” he said.

“If there had been elections this year I think we would have taken more seats. We’ve got a good workforce out there now that’s feeding back residents’ opinions to the group so we can put forward their opinions.”

He added: “I am confident Sean will make an excellent leader for the Labour Party Group on Cherwell District Council and carry out his responsibilities with enthusiasm and energy.”

Banbury Constituency Labour Party (CLP) secretary Terry Davis said of Mr Cartledge’s decision: “Everybody was very disappointed at the end of last week when he decided to give up being group leader.

But added: “I’ve been veryvery impressed with the work Patrick did as leader but I think Sean will build on these foundations.” Mr Woodcock who was elected as Banbury town and Cherwell district councillor last May and studied history at Reading University before serving as Banbury CLP treasurer, said he feels “humbled” to have been selected.

“I’m raring to get on with the role,” he said.

His priorities will include welfare reform and affordable housing.