Further to our report last week we can confirm that Margaret Eaton is the new Chair of the Local Government Association. She won an overwhelming majority of the votes cast in a five candidate contest.
Eric Pickles has issued this statement welcoming Cllr Eaton to her new post:
"I would like to congratulate Margaret on her overwhelming victory, in what was an experienced and talented field. Margaret is an old friend from my Bradford City Council days, and she brings considerable experience of local government. I have no doubt that Margaret will prove to be a fearless champion for local government, and the residents they represent."
This was the manifesto statement she issued to the Local Government Chronicle:
"Following in the footsteps of Sir Simon Milton as chairman of the Local Government Association will be a privilege, but a daunting challenge for whoever is selected from such a wide range of candidates.
Since the creation of the LGA, I have been involved at the highest level. During the past six years I have been first, deputy leader, and then leader of the Conservative group and vice-chairman of the LGA.
All of these roles would help me to continue the excellent work of the previous chairmen, and in particular to ensure that central government takes proper notice of the democratic importance of local government.
In the run-up to a general election over the next 18 months it will be vitally important to position the LGA at the heart of political thinking and policy development.
All local authorities are increasingly strapped for cash. The LGA will need to demonstrate its relevance to all types of local authority and also that the subscription is value for money.
Some issues, such as the pressure on budgets and council tax, are universal to all authorities while others, such as the government's ill-considered proposals for eco-towns, affect a relatively small number but are no less important.
The LGA is a cross-party organisation. Most of my political life has been spent in 'hung' councils with highly charged politics. In such circumstances, productive work can take place only if good relationships are maintained in spite of political differences.
If elected, I would bring to the task my years of experience as leader of the Conservative LGA group, chairman of the Conservative Councillors Association, leader of Bradford City MDC and 22 years of being a front-line councillor for Bingley Rural ward. These jobs have developed my skills, inflated my energy, prepared my address book and given me the insights and foresight to understand and tackle the issues confronting local government."