THE leader of York’s Conservatives is to be the city’s next Lord Mayor.

Ian Gillies, who represents Rural West York on City of York Council, will take up the post next May for 2014/15, succeeding Coun Julie Gunnell.

Coun Gillies was formally nominated by his party deputy Coun George Barton at this week’s full council meeting. His Sheriff will be long-standing friend John Kenny, who ran the Cross of York fish stall in Newgate Market. Coun Gillies’ wife Patricia will be Lady Mayoress.

Coun Gillies said: “I am extremely honoured and will do my utmost to promote York during my time in office, and I thank my colleagues for giving me the opportunity to become Lord Mayor.

“It is something I will treasure and I will do my best to uphold the standards of the Lord Mayor and the reputation of the city of York.”

The Conservatives will now choose a new leader and The Press understands Coun Chris Steward, who also represents Rural West York, is the front-runner.

Coun Gillies was born in Fife in Scotland but moved to York aged eight. He was a police officer, a national broker sales manager and ran several businesses before becoming a councillor and Tory leader in 2007.

Proposing him as mayor, Coun Barton said: “We have got rid of his Scottish accent and taught him proper Yorkshire! The Lord Mayor must be a shining example and take the lead in promoting our citizens, our organisations and our city. Coun Gillies has done just that in the past and will continue to do so in the future.”

Council leader James Alexander told Coun Gillies he would miss their “sparring” as opposing leaders and said: “You are a man of York and you will do a fantastic job for York as Lord Mayor.”