Top councillor steps down

Coun Amy Cross (left), who is standing down, and (below) leader, Coun Simon Blackburn.

Coun Amy Cross (left), who is standing down, and (below) leader, Coun Simon Blackburn.

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A SENIOR Blackpool councillor has cited personal issues for her decision to stand down from the town’s ruling executive.

Coun Amy Cross, whose decision was revealed earlier this week in The Gazette, has said she has been finding it increasingly difficult to balance her town hall duties with her home life.

Blackpool Council leader Simon Blackburn

Blackpool Council leader Simon Blackburn

As a result she has stepped down from her role as cabinet member for young people.

In her letter of resignation to council leader Coun Simon Blackburn, she said: “It is clear that the personal and family issues which I face are not going to be resolved quickly, and in order to fully discharge my caring duties to my family, I regret that I cannot continue in post.”

But Coun Cross will continue to represent her constituents in Ingthorpe ward and says she hopes to return to front line politics in the town in future years.

She added: “I am a firm believer in both the strategic direction of the Labour administration, and the leadership which yourself and Fred (Jackson) have provided over the past two years, and I look forward to continuing to wholeheartedly support our efforts to make Blackpool a fairer town which encourages aspiration in young people.

“I hope one day to return to the front line, however at this particular moment in time, I feel I have no choice but to take a step back.”

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Coun Cross has been one of the rising young stars of the Blackpool Labour party.

She was one of the youngest candidates in the country when she contested the Stanley ward seat at the 2007 local elections, aged just 18.

The former Montgomery High School pupil, who is also a former chairman of the Blackpool Youth Forum, lost out that year but was successful at the 2011 local election when she stood in Ingthorpe.

She was appointed cabinet member for young people following the formation of the new administration, and has been instrumental in issues including protecting young peoples services from cutbacks, and tackling child poverty.

In accepting her resignation, Coun Blackburn paid tribute to the work she had done.

He said in a letter of reply: “I am well aware, from our conversations, of the family ill-health which has led to your decision, and I also fully appreciate the stresses and strains which political office places upon people’s careers, relationships and day-to-day lives.”

He added: “I am sure that you will, in due course, make a return to a senior position, and know that in the intervening period, you will continue to support our vision, values and priorities from the coal-face of politics in Ingthorpe and in the town hall.

“Your decision displays a sense of maturity and comradeship seldom found in someone of your tender years, and I look forward greatly to working with you over the coming three years, in whatever capacity.”

Coun Cross has been replaced by 22-year-old Coun Chris Maughan, who represents Highfield ward.

In order to undertake this role Coun Maughan stands down as chairman of the Scrutiny Committee.

His replacement as chairman of the council’s Scrutiny Committee will be subject to approval at the council meeting on June 20. Marton councillor Debbie Coleman, the current vice-chairman, will take over in the meantime.

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