A NEW leader has been appointed to the Labour Group on the new Cumberland shadow authority.

Mark Fryer, councillor for St John's, Stainburn and Great Clifton ward was appointed by the party in a meeting earlier today.

Speaking to the News & Star for the first time since his appointment Labour Group leader Mark Fryer said: "It is the honour of a lifetime to have been elected by my peers to lead the Labour group on the new Cumberland Unitary Authority.

"The people spoke last Thursday and gave resounding backing to the Labour candidates, 30 seats is a direct result of all the hard work that all the candidates put in.

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"I'm really excited because of the talent that is evident within the Labour Group.

"Following my election victory, I talked about pressing the reset button.

"This is not about regurgatating the policies of the County Council, Allerdale, Copeland and Carlisle and repackaging them. This is a fantastic opportunity to build on the work that is already in place and to make it better.

"There are some obstacles, but the ambition of the Labour Group and the drive and energy that is in there will make sure those hurdles are jumped.

"During the election it was clear that many people have real and significant issues and it is our role as the new unitary authority to address them, it won't be in the first 12 months because we are a shadow authority, but when we start as the Cumberland Authority we will hit the ground running.

"Labour has always been about protecting people and it was evident within the selection meeting today that everyone was united behind that message."

Mr Fryer will be supported in the role by deputy leaders Lisa Brown and Emma Williamson.

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