New Forest Liberal Democrats appoint new leader Cllr Malcolm Wade as Cllr David Harrison steps down
THE New Forest Liberal Democrat group has appointed a new leader after Cllr David Harrison stepped down from the role he has held for the past six years.
Cllr Malcolm Wade will replace him to head what is the official opposition group to the ruling Conservatives on New Forest District Council.
"We want to deliver on the things that are important to local people, such as affordable housing, fighting climate change, supporting the local economy and most of all working to improve their quality of life.
"And we will listen to what local people say and hear what they need," Cllr Wade said.
Cllr Wade, who was elected unopposed, thanked Cllr Harrison for the "hard work” he had done.
Cllr Rebecca Clark was elected as his deputy, unopposed.
During Cllr Harrison’s time as leader the Liberal Democrats have made some inroads: their number was two until the last NFDC election, when 13 party members won seats.
"It has been great to see the talent used effectively to challenge and hold the Conservative administration to account," Cllr Harrison said.
He added the party had "successfully exposed some major weaknesses in the way the council is being run", naming car parking policies, "poor consultation" and concerns over the potential introduction of wheelie bins.
"All told, I think I have overseen a very successful six-year period as leader and am particularly pleased other group members have demonstrated they are more than capable of stepping up and taking on responsibility," Cllr Harrison added.
"With this in mind, I have decided it is time for me to step down as the leader – without being pushed – and allow somebody else the opportunity to take over."