A LONG serving York councillor has been named as the new Labour group leader on the council.

Janet Looker, who represents Guildhall ward, will take over from Dafydd Williams after she won a vote of fellow Labour councillors tonight.

Cllr Looker has been a councillor for 30 years, and served as Lord Mayor of York in 2004.

Before May’s local election she was cabinet member for education and children’s services, and has also held the environment portfolio.

She said: "I never expected this particular role and over all the years I have been on the council I have never put myself forward for it, but it is a great privilege to have it and to do it to the best of my abilities.

"I felt that because we are a very new group - we have a lot of very new councillors - it seemed we really needed somebody who has a bit of experience to be in this role."

The former group leader Dafydd Williams announced he was stepping down in mid September, citing the time demands of having a full-time job and young children on top of his political role.

Cllr Williams had been leader less than a year since taking over from James Alexander. He will stay on as a councillor for Heworth and a member of the council’s Labour group.