New leadership team for MK Labour

Milton Keynes Labour Party has chosen a new leadership team as it gets ready for decisive council elections next year.

The sixteen strong Labour Group on MK Council will now be led by Cllr Peter Marland, 32, who represents the Wolverton ward and has been on Milton Keynes Council since 2011. He is currently a Finance Manager for a national vehicle hire firm on Kiln Farm and lives in New Bradwell. He has made a name for himself on the Council for his dogged pursuit of answers over the £1m overspend on Wolverton station and his promotion of mutuals like co-ops and credit unions.

Pete is joined by a new Deputy Leader, Cllr Hannah O’Neill, 31. Hannah was born and brought up in MK. After completing her Masters degree in Belfast, she took up a role as a project manager in the voluntary sector here in the City. She has been on Milton Keynes Council for five years and was the first woman to be elected in the strong Labour area of Woughton. She has Chaired the Labour Group for four years and has a strong reputation in the community safety field.

Milton Keynes will be one of the most hotly contested boroughs in the country in the run up to the General Election which is expected in 2015. The all-out council elections to be held next year to elect 57 new representatives will be a big test for all the main parties.

The new Labour top team will be campaigning hard on the City economy, improving council services and delivering better housing, especially for the so called “generation rent”. The change is likely to be seen as a generational change in leadership of the Labour Group.

The new team was chosen by Labour councillors after current leader, Norman Miles, decided to stand-down from the role after five years. He has taken Labour from one of its lowest ever positions on MK Council, with just 9 Council members in 2010, to 16 at last year’s local elections. Cllr Miles will take up the position of Labour Group Chair.

Cllr Peter Marland said: “It is an incredible honour and privilege to lead Milton Keynes Labour Party. MK Council faces enormous financial pressures over the next few years. My role will be setting out a new, radical agenda of how a Labour-led City would look, how we promote aspiration and tackle the challenges of a growing City with a diverse population. Put simply I want Labour to set a fresh, positive agenda of value for money services in line with the dynamism of Milton Keynes, rather than the managerial approach to decline and pessimism the City’s current leadership adopts.”

Cllr Hannah O’Neil added: “I am proud to be part of a new leadership team for MK Labour Party. I will be supporting Pete in his new role and ensuring s a party we set out how we would lead the City in rediscovering the dynamic founding principles of Milton Keynes.”

“After 5 years as leader of MK Labour Group I believe the time is right to hand over leadership of the Labour Party to the next generation" said Cllr Norman Miles. "I am extremely proud to have led the party through some difficult times, but now is the right time to make the transition in the run up to the vital 2014 elections."