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Labour elects Doug Taylor as new Enfield Council leader
DOUG Taylor has been elected as the new Labour leader of Enfield Council.
Mr Taylor, who previously led the party between 1999 and 2005, ran unopposed for the leadership after acting leader Bambos Charalambous stepped aside.
He was appointed at a Labour group meeting at the Civic Centre, in Silver Street, last night.
Bowes councillor Achilleas Georgiou was elected deputy leader after defeating Mr Charalambous.
Edmonton Green councillor Jayne Buckland was elected to the mayoralty, currently held by Tory councillor Eleftherios Savva.
Speaking to the Enfield Independent this morning, Mr Taylor, 55, said he was "extremely optimistic" about the future, but conceded the council faced a "very difficult financial situation".
He stressed the council would strive to listen to people's concerns and try to devolve more responsibility to residents rather than impose them from the centre.
He said: "I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to be leader again.
"My priorities are to implement our manifesto and try to make a real difference to people's lives.
"First, we plan to interrogate council officers to see what position the council is in, and how we can move forward and deliver effectively."
The last Conservative administration, which ran the council from 2002 to 2010, was "too distant", according to the new leader, and failed to reflect residents' aspirations.
Labour hopes to allow more ward-based spending, he said, while ensuring accountability.
"We want to connect again," he added.
"That is our main principle. We want to know what really matters to people."
Eight members of the cabinet were also appointed, though their posts are yet to be confirmed.
Provisionally, Mr Charalambous will take on leisure, culture and the Olympics; Chris Bond will cover the environment; Anwar Chaudhury will cover community cohesion and the voluntary sector; Andrew Stafford will be responsible for financial resources and central services; Del Goddard will take on place-shaping; and Ayfer Orhan will cover children's services.
Turkey Street councillor Donald McGowan, Lower Edmonton councillor Ahmet Oykener and Mr Georgiou have also accepted portfolios.
Mr Charalambous, former deputy leader and acting leader since the elections on May 6, gave both Mr Taylor and Mr Georgiou his full support.
He said: "Both Doug and Achilleas are very talented and very able members of the group and I am sure they will lead the party very well.
"Their first priority, I believe, is seeing if the council shape is fit for purpose.
"We haven't communicated properly with the electorate in the past so we need to make sure we get our message out."
Comparing Mr Taylor's leadership style with outgoing Labour leader Jeff Rodin, who ran the Labour group from 1994 to 1999 and again from 2005 to 2010, Mr Charalambous likened the latter to Margaret Thatcher and the former to John Major.
"Doug is a very inclusive person and will take on everyone's view," he said.
"Jeff led more from the front and expected people to fall in line, which could be quite divisive."