LABOUR'S local election candidates joined the crowds to meet the voters at York's late-night shopping event.

Sitting and would-be councillors, including City of York Council executive members, were among the swarm of shoppers enjoying the sunshine in St Helen's Square.

Councillors and candidates handed out leaflets and balloons and fielded questions from shoppers, both election and non-election related.

Tracey Simpson-Laing, councillor for Acomb and executive member for transport, said the politicians were there to show people they were available if people wanted to speak to them.

She said: "People sometimes say the councillors are not accessible, so the executive members and the Labour candidates were there for people to meet, to talk to, so they can put a face to the names. We have said that all along. Hopefully, this will be the first of many similar events."

Coun Simpson-Laing said last night's meet-and-greet was also aimed at highlighting the fact that late-night shopping is becoming a regular York event.

She said: "It will bring jobs and prosperity to the residents of York.

"Let's see how this goes, we hope everyone is going to enjoy it. It is something that Labour in York is very keen to see."

Updated: 10:07 Friday, April 18, 2003