A SENIOR York councillor is standing down, triggering a by-election on the same day as the General Election.

Labour councillor David Levene has served on City of York Council since 2011, representing Heslington ward until 2015, when ward boundaries changed and he became councillor for the neighbouring Hull Road award.

With Labour having taken control of the council, he became the youngest cabinet member in the country.

He said: “It’s with great sadness that I have taken this very difficult decision. York is a very special place to me and somewhere I’m privileged to have represented for six years.

“But my career has taken me out of York and I’m unable to balance the commute with my councillor responsibilities until the next local elections in 2019. It’s a tough decision but the right one for the residents of Hull Road ward and for my Labour colleagues on the council.

“I’m very optimistic that the work we have done in Hull Road ward will provide a strong platform for our Labour candidate to win this by-election, alongside returning our MP, Rachael Maskell, to Parliament for York Central.

"It is only Labour that will provide the effective opposition to a Tory council leadership accepting cuts to York from a Tory Government, cuts that are having a very real impact in parts of the city like Hull Road ward.

“I want to thank my Labour colleagues and the various council officers I have worked with over the years for their support during my time on the council”.

Labour Group Leader, Cllr Janet Looker said: “I want to thank David for the considerable contribution he has made to the city and its residents and to the Labour Group during his time on the council.

“David has been able to skilfully combine the role of ward councillor and local advocate with a strategic approach of working to address some of the bigger issues and challenges the city faces.

“I’m very grateful for his contribution but understand his reasons for stepping down. He will be very difficult to replace but we wish him every success in the future as he pursues work interests away from York."

Cllr Levene is the second Labour councillor to stand down in recent months. Julie Gunnell, a former Lord Mayor who has represented Micklegate ward for 10 years, announced she was quitting for family reasons in February. A by-election is expected to take place in her ward on June 8.