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Council appoints first female leader

Published May 26, 2021 1.56pm

A new Leader of Durham County Council has today been appointed at our Annual Meeting.

Cllr Amanda Hopgood was voted into the post at our Annual Meeting, with her appointment marking a new political leadership for the council. She also makes history as the first woman to hold the position at what is the region's largest authority and one of the top 10 largest nationally.

As leader of the council's Liberal Democrat Group, she will lead a partnership of members from the Liberal Democrat, Conservative and independent groups under the name of the Joint Administration.

During the meeting, she announced the following appointments to her Cabinet:

  • Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Finance - Cllr Richard Bell
  • Cabinet member for Adults and Health Services - Cllr Paul Sexton
  • Cabinet member for Children and Young People's Services - Cllr Ted Henderson
  • Cabinet member for Digital and Customer Services - Cllr Susan McDonnell
  • Cabinet member for Economy and Partnerships - Cllr Elizabeth Scott
  • Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Climate Change - Cllr Mark Wilkes
  • Cabinet member for Equality and Inclusion - Cllr Alan Shield
  • Cabinet member for Resources, Investment and Assets - Cllr James Rowlandson
  • Cabinet member for Rural Communities and Highways - Cllr John Shuttleworth

Cllr Hopgood was born and bred in Durham City and has represented the Framwellgate and Newton Hall division of the council since 2008. She is also a member of Framwellgate Moor Parish Council.

As Leader of the council, Cllr Hopgood's priorities include the county's ongoing recovery from the pandemic; ensuring its continued economic growth and prosperity; representing the county at a national level; health and social care; education and tackling climate change.

Cllr Hopgood said: "As someone who was born and brought up in County Durham, I feel honoured and privileged to have been elected as Leader of Durham County Council.

"County Durham is a fantastic place, not just for those of us who live here, but also those who choose to work, visit and invest in the area. I am looking forward to working in partnership with my colleagues from other groups to achieve our common goal of ensuring our county is able to prosper.

"During my time as a county councillor, I have worked hard to improve the lives of residents in my ward and promote the city at a national level. Becoming Leader gives me the opportunity to carry that work forward and to do so on a countywide basis.


"Over the coming weeks and months, I will be setting out my plans to address our community priorities; promote economic regeneration; and improve health and social care, especially the provision of mental health services. I want to ensure all our young people have access to better and fairer education and make a serious impact on our climate change emergency.

"However, our ongoing recovery from the pandemic has to be our first priority, and I will be working to ensure that we get a fair deal when it comes to funding and opportunities.

"We have much to be proud of in County Durham, but it is vital that we push to ensure that we are not left behind, and that we instead lead the way. The Government's levelling up agenda is key to this and I will be working with my colleagues to ensure we have a voice at that national level.

"I look forward to the challenges ahead."