THE newly elected leader of City of York Council has used his first speech to call for a more reasonable era of less personal politics in York.

Cllr Dafydd Williams officially became the leader of the council this evening when both the Conservative and Liberal Democrats abstained from a vote.

Cllr Williams paid tribute to his predecessor James Alexander who he said worked incredibly hard in his time as leader.

Cllr Williams said he wanted to be a leader who listens to both other councillors and residents, and called for an end to personal attacks and partisan bickering.

He added: "I am quite happy to draw a line under that now. Whilst I am leader, anyone from my side of the chamber who engages in personal attacks will be dealt with robustly."

Opposition leaders welcomed Cllr Williams' talk of a new approach, but while Conservative leader Chris Steward had already accepted a seat on the cabinet the Liberal Democrat leader Keith Aspden turned down a place, saying "There's more to cross-party working than a token opposition member on the cabinet."

And Cllr Ken King - the former Labour member who resigned earlier this year and now leads the Independent Labour group on the council- delivered a stinging attack on his former colleagues saying the city would have been better served by Cllr Alexander staying until the end of the municipal year, and criticising Cllr Dave Merrett for not resigning over the failure of the Lendal Bridge trial.

Councillors also voted overwhelmingly in favour of refunds for all drivers fined for crossing Lendal Bridge. In a motion proposed by Cllr Keith Aspden, the council was asked to extend the deadline for refund applications beyond the end of December, and start refunding all drivers fined.

It was supported by the Labour group as well as opposition.

Motions were also passed in favour of protection from development for pubs, pledging no new charges for bin collections, and calling for a review of the harm funding cuts have done to health services in York.