Derbyshire County Council Conservative Group have elected a new Leader, Cllr Barry Lewis, following the recent European elections, which saw their current Leader Councillor Andrew Lewer MBE elected as a MEP for the East Midlands.
Barry Lewis, 43, of Wessington, was unanimously elected as Group Leader and will be supported by re-elected Deputy Leader Cllr Simon Spencer of Ashbourne, and new Group Secretary Cllr Jocleyn Street, of Bagshaw, Chapel-en-le-Frith, who will also take a Shadow Cabinet role.
Councillor Lewis said, “It is a great honour and humbling to be elected as Group Leader for Derbyshire County Conservatives, especially following on from a skilful Leader like Andrew.
I must pay tribute to Andrew Lewer and his exemplary Leadership of the Group and of the County Council in particular from 2009 to 2013. He led us to an historic victory, ousting Labour after 28 years and so they are big shoes to fill. We are delighted he has been elected to Europe to represent the East Midlands as a strong voice and expect great things of him there.”
Andrew Lewer said, “Leading the Conservative Group since 2007 has been an honour and a pleasure. The Group’s loyalty and support for me never wavered. It was a large part of the reason we were able to run Derbyshire County Council on a wafer thin majority without losing a single vote in Council or Committee to the dismay of our hard left Labour opponents. In Barry Lewis the Conservative Group has made a wise choice as my successor; he is capable, experienced and down to earth.”
Barry, lives in Wessington with his wife Kat, and daughter Zoe and is a Director of Amber Valley Wines, which aims to produce wines from their own vineyards in Derbyshire and The English Wine Shop, a retailer of English wines. Barry was born in Derby to profoundly deaf parents and was raised in Ripley. He was educated at the University of Wales Lampeter where gained a BA(Hons) in Environment and Archaeology and Leicester University, where he attained an MA in Archaeology and Heritage. A former archaeologist and an author and local politician for about 6 years at various levels, Barry was Cabinet Member for Young People during the four-year Conservative administration, which ended last May.
Barry added, “I relish this opportunity and looking forward to challenging Labour on a range of issues, including their sluggish and damaging progress in making difficult decisions, designed to appease the Unions and minimise bad news before the General Election next year and which could ultimately see this authority bankrupted.”