REVEALED: Preston's new council leader is chosen by city's Labour group

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Matthew Brown has been elected to lead Preston's Labour group, and therefore the city council.

The senior councillor, the cabinet member for social justice, inclusion and policy, will replace acting leader Robert Boswell, it was decided in a ballot at the group's AGM last night.

He will become the new council leader at a meeting later this month.

Coun Peter Moss, the cabinet member for planning and regulation, will become the new deputy leader, chairman David Borrow said this morning.

Coun Brown said: "I'm very pleased. It's a great honour to be given this role. The council is going to feel a little different.

"We have some big challenges coming up, but on top of that we want to make sure the city is a lot fairer place to live in."

He continued: "We have austerity, and we have to find ways of doing things a little differently because there's less money about.

"We want to see a devolution deal and work towards getting more powers from government, which we want to make sure will benefit the people of Preston rather than doing it for doing its sake.

"We have inequality and certain areas of the city that need more support, so we have to make sure people are lifted up in those areas.

"We have Brexit, and we have to try and bring people together. That's important, because when times are hard, there's a danger people start blaming other people, so we have to think about cohesion in the city."

Acting leader Robert Boswell stepped up from his position as deputy when former leader Peter Rankin stepped aside for health reasons in December.

He decided not to stand for re-election at this week's local elections, which saw Labour retain control of the city on a day of few surprises.

With 20 places in the council chamber up for grabs on the night, Labour took 13 seats, with gains in College and Garrison. The results mean the composition of the city council for the next year is Labour, 35 seats, Tories, 17, Lib Dems, five.