A COUNCILLOR who became the youngest in Britain when he was elected ten years ago has been named the new leader of York’s Liberal Democrats.

Coun Keith Aspden has replaced Coun Carol Runciman who had led the party for the past two years. Coun Runciman recently married and she said she wanted to spend more time with her new husband and family, as well as helping the party to develop future candidates.

Coun Aspden, who represents Fulford, was first elected in 2003 while still a student at the University of York. He retained the seat at two subsequent elections and recently launched a “Fair Deal For Fulford” campaign, arguing that the area was being hurt by council cuts to salt bins, litter bins and road repairs.

Coun Aspden said: “I will continue to work tirelessly in Fulford and my priority over the next two years will be to fight for communities and villages which feel let down by the Labour council.

“Every day I speak to people who are angry that Labour finds millions to spend on city-centre projects, but cuts funding for basic local services like libraries and road repairs. In the coming weeks, I will also step up our campaign to save York’s Green Belt, outlining our vision for sustainable housing growth.”

He said Coun Runciman had done a “fantastic job” since replacing Andrew Waller as party leader and said the Lib Dems had been a “real alternative” to Labour and the Conservatives.

Coun Runciman formally nominated Coun Aspden as her replacement and the change was agreed unanimously at the party’s AGM, they said in a statement.

Coun Runciman said: “My commitment to residents in Huntington and New Earswick remains as strong as ever and I plan to seek re-election there in 2015.

“However, after getting married recently, I want to get a balance in my life where I can spend more time with my husband and my family, along with working on new projects such as helping the next generation of candidates. Stepping down now as leader will allow me to do this. Keith is a truly outstanding councillor and I was delighted to formally nominate him for group leader.”

Coun Aspden qualified as a secondary school teacher in York in 2004 and now works across a number of North Yorkshire schools.