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Council's new top team will hit the ground running

Labour Cabinet

Leader of the Labour administration Tudor Evans has announced his top political team that will lead the authority later this week.

The 10-strong Cabinet will be responsible for the political leadership of the Council and making the key decisions following the Annual Meeting on Friday 19 May. 

Councillor Evans said the team would immediately start implementing the ambitions set out in the Labour manifesto and working on top priorities, including providing more support to help residents deal with the cost of living crisis and resolving the urgent issues with the Armada Way scheme.

Councillor Evans said: “It is clear that people in Plymouth have an appetite for change and we will not let them down. We will create a council that is focused on addressing the things that matter. We have an exceptionally strong team to lead the Council’s new Labour administration and one that will bring a fresh and more dynamic approach to tackling the key issues.

“Each member brings extensive experience to their portfolio, from their previous service on the Council and from their work in their communities and in a wide range of sectors.

“All of them are passionate about doing their best for local people and are ready to get stuck in and build a better Plymouth.

"The Council faces many challenges and there’s a huge amount to do, but I am confident that we have an extremely capable and driven political leadership team that will demonstrate just how much can be achieved for the residents of Plymouth when the ambition and commitment is there.”

The new administration’s priorities that the Cabinet will be charged with delivering, include working with the police to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, repairing potholes, clamping down on litter and fly-tipping, supporting house building for social rent and affordable ownership, ensuring Plymouth benefits from green jobs by helping companies create them and working with the NHS to tackle waiting lists for GPs and dentists.

The list of Cabinet members is:

  • Councillor Tudor Evans OBE – Leader
  • Councillor Jemima Laing – Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Children’s Social Care, Culture, Events and Communications
  • Councillor Mary Aspinall – Cabinet member for Health and Adult Social Care
  • Councillor Sally Haydon – Cabinet member for Community Safety, Libraries and Cemeteries and Crematoria
  • Councillor Chris Penberthy – Cabinet member for Housing, Co-operative Development and Communities
  • Councillor Sally Cresswell – Cabinet member for Education, Skills and Apprenticeships
  • Councillor Mark Lowry – Cabinet member for Finance
  • Councillor Mark Coker – Cabinet member for Planning and Transport
  • Councillor Tom Briars-Delve – Cabinet member for Environment and Climate Change
  • Councillor Sue Dann – Cabinet member for Customer Services, Sport, Leisure and Human Resources and Organisational Development.

The Cabinet is led by Councillor Tudor Evans, Leader of the Council and Labour councillor for Ham, who has previously served four terms as leader between 1998 and 2000, 2003 to 2007, 2012 to 2016 and 2018 to 2021. 

As well as strategic leadership of the Council, Councillor Evans’ portfolio of responsibilities includes economy and enterprise, regional and local economic strategy, the corporate plan, corporate policy development, HM Dockyard and defence issues, strategic and commercial projects and the National Marine Park.

Councillor Jemima Laing is Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Children and Young People, and will oversee children’s social care, children’s safeguarding, youth services, events, culture, heritage and museums, the Waterfront Partnership, legal and communications.

Councillor Laing, who has served as a councillor for Stoke ward since 2018, was previously Cabinet Member for Children and Young People between 2019 and 2021.

Councillor Laing has also chaired the Education and Children’s Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

A freelance writer, Councillor Laing has also worked as a journalist in regional newspapers and as a broadcast journalist at the BBC for nine years. She is also a qualified solicitor.

Councillor Mary Aspinall is the Cabinet member for Health and Adult Social Care, which includes responsibility for older people’s services, mental health services, physical disability services, drug and alcohol services, learning disability services, the dementia friendly city agenda, the Aging Well agenda, health and social care, children’s mental health, children’s dental health and children’s public health.

Councillor Aspinall has lived in the city for most of her life, working in hospital services in Plymouth, initially as a nurse, before qualifying as a midwife in 1979. She worked at Freedom Fields and the Alexandra maternity units before becoming a community midwife in 1982.

Councillor Aspinall has represented Sutton and Mount Gould ward since in 2002 and served as Lord Mayor of Plymouth in 2010/11.

She has been very active in the Council’s scrutiny process, and has chaired the Scrutiny Management Board and the Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Panel.

Councillor Sally Haydon, who has represented St Budeaux since 2006, is Cabinet member for Community Safety, Libraries and Cemeteries and Crematoria.

The portfolio includes environmental health, trading standards, taxi licensing, miscellaneous licensing, food safety, crime and antisocial behaviour, the Safer Plymouth Community Safety Partnership, civil protection, libraries, bereavement and crematoria.

Councillor Haydon has previously served in the Cabinet and chaired the Place and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Councillor Chris Penberthy’s Housing, Cooperative Development and Communities portfolio includes the Plan for Homes, land and facilities management, homelessness, unauthorised encampments and travellers policy, equalities and diversity, asylum seekers and refugees, community engagement, building stronger communities, veterans and tackling poverty.

The councillor for St Peter and the Waterfront has previously served in the Cabinet and has extensive experience of work in the third sector across the country. 

Councillor Penberthy served as deputy Lord Mayor last year.

Councillor Sally Cresswell will be Cabinet member for Education, Skills and Apprenticeships, with responsibility for post-16 education and training, apprenticeships, the Plan for Education, schools, early years, adult education, skills and employability.

Councillor Cresswell has represented Stoke Ward since 2021. She was born and largely brought up in Plymouth.  Stoke is where she and her husband Michael raised their children.  She is a retired Assistant Head teacher having worked in primary schools across Plymouth and Devon for 30 years,  20 of those spent in Tamerton and Southway schools.

On the Council she’s served on Children’s Social Care and Education Scrutiny Committee, Corporate Parenting Group, Child Poverty Working Group and Planning.  She is well aware of the challenges facing education and the skills agenda.  She is passionate about all children and young people reaching their potential, which is also the key to the economic growth and prosperity of the City of Plymouth.

Councillor Mark Lowry is Cabinet member for Finance, with a brief that includes overseeing the revenue budget, monitoring and oversight of the capital programme, district shopping centre revival, revenues and municipal enterprise and the health and wellbeing hubs investment programme.

Councillor Lowry, whose career included working in senior management at Babcock, has previously represented Honicknowle between 2007 and 2023 and served as Cabinet Member for Finance during Labour’s last administration. He now represents Southway ward.

Councillor Mark Coker is responsible for the Strategic Planning and Transport portfolio, which includes the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan, spatial and infrastructure planning, strategic planning policy, city centre public realm, highways operations and maintenance, street cleaning, pavements, parking and marine services.

Councillor Coker, who represents Devonport, has also previously served in the Cabinet overseeing the Strategic Transport and Planning portfolio.

Councillor Sue Dann, is Cabinet member for Customer Services, Sport, Leisure and HR. Councillor Dann, who has served as Lord Mayor of Plymouth over the last year, has previously served in the cabinet, leading on Environment and Street Scene, as well as a portfolio that included transport.

Councillor Dann first served as a councillor in 2003 and represents Sutton and Mount Gould.

Councillor Tom Briars-Delve will lead the Environment and Climate Change portfolio, which includes Plymouth’s Net Zero Action Plan, the Climate Emergency Investment Fund, energy policy, decarbonisation and renewable energy initiatives, commercial and domestic waste management, the Plan for Trees and tree management, recycling, plastic free Plymouth, green estate management and parks, recreation and sports pitches.

He is a former teacher who now works in community development. He is a councillor in Stoke ward, where he lives with his family. As the group’s spokesperson for climate change, Tom contributed to the budget amendment which doubled wildflower meadow maintenance and introduced a £2m Green Investment Fund for energy efficiency improvements. He also supported Luke Pollard MP’s successful campaign for Devil’s Point to become an official bathing water. Tom is passionate about Plymouth's green spaces and reaching net zero through city-wide collaboration. His priorities include championing green skills and jobs, transitioning towards solar power, promoting sustainable transport, and improving environmental standards for buildings.