COUNCILLOR Mike Jones has been re-elected to lead Cheshire West and Chester Council for the next four years.

The Tattenhall Member defeated a challenge from Labour leader Derek Bateman to take the leadership at the annual council meeting last week.

Chester-born Cllr Jones has led the council since its formation in April 2009, having served as leader of the shadow authority.

He began his career in local government in 1992 with the former Chester City Council where he served on several committees and became Deputy Lord Mayor of Chester in 2004/5 and Lord Mayor in 2005/6.

Cllr Jones has held a number of engineering and senior management appointments in Scottish Power, Powergen and Transco, and latterly was managing director of a business in Skanska Group.

During his career in the utilities industry he was responsible for major change projects, mergers and acquisitions, and now runs his own business in Chester.
Helsby Councillor Les Ford was re-appointed as deputy leader.

Cllr Bateman continues as Labour leader, supported by Cllr Pat Merrick who retains the role of deputy leader.

Also confirmed were the six members who will lead key council services for the next four years.

Retaining their executive roles are Cllrs Brenda Dowding (adult services), Lynn Riley (community and environment), Les Ford (resources) and Herbert Manley (prosperity).

Cllr Stuart Parker takes over culture and recreation from Cllr Richard Short, who lost the Little Neston and Burton seat he contested to the Labour party.

Cllr Mark Stocks has been appointed executive member for education and children, a role previously held by Cllr Arthur Harada who did not seek re-election.

They will be supported by the following assistant executive members:
Cllr John Grimshaw – adult services
Cllr Jill Houlbrook – community and environment
Cllr Bob Crompton – culture and recreation
Cllr Helen Weltman – education and children
Cllr Adrian Walmsley – resources
Cllr Gareth Anderson – prosperity