New leaders announced in Preston’s Conservative group

Leaders: Coun Neil Cartwright and Damien Moore with Conservative colleagues
Leaders: Coun Neil Cartwright and Damien Moore with Conservative colleagues
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Conservatives in Preston have announced their new senior councillors, as part of a restructure within the city council’s Tory group.

Former mayor Neil Cartwright is to become leader, replacing Eric Fazackerley who retired at this year’s election.

And Coun Damien Moore, who stood as the Conservatives’ parliamentary candidate in Southport, will replace Julie Buttle as deputy leader.

Coun Christine Abram, Stephen Thompson and Sue Whittam will join them to make up the shadow cabinet.

Coun Cartwright, who first became a councillor in 1976, said: “First and foremost, we’ve got to be supportive of Preston’s aspirations.

“Politics aside, our city is the most important thing.

“We’ve got to be giving our support to what the city does.

“We will disagree on many things, but the main thing is being a betterment of our city.

“We are not going to be awkward when it comes to that fundamental.

“I’ve lived here all my life, it’s my home city, I’ve been mayor, and that’s the focus of our attention.”

He said the General Election result had been a “surprise”, and said: “That has an impact on the whole of local government and politics in general.

“It is going to make it a tough year for Conservatives in local government because we will be defending our government most of the time.

“Whereas, I think if Labour had won Westminster then we could attack them, but that’s politics.

“We will work very hard to represent all our constituents and defend our government as well.”

Coun Cartwright, who represents Preston Rural East and lives in Fulwood, was chosen as the group’s leader at their annual general meeting last week.

He said: “I am delighted.

“I am a Conservative through and through and I was first elected in 1976.

“I am delighted and honoured to be leading this group for the forthcoming year.”

Coun Damien Moore, who represents Greyfriars ward on Preston Council, will now become deputy group leader after Julie Buttle stepped down from the council.

He was first elected in 2012, and lives in Fulwood.