Council leader says Keane Duncan can fulfil duties during campervan tour

Keane Duncan.

Conservative council leader Carl Les says Keane Duncan should have time to campaign to be mayor whilst fulfilling his duties as executive member for transport.

But he warned “if he’s not pulling his weight” on the executive whilst touring the county in a campervan he will speak to him about it.

Cllr Duncan is the Conservative candidate for the Mayoral elections on May 2 but is also in charge of transport at county hall.

It has led to criticism that he won’t be able to give his executive role his full attention.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service at the launch of the York & North Yorkshire Combined Authority on Thursday, Cllr Les said Cllr Duncan has been attending all informal and formal meetings of the executive since starting his 100-tour and has also been keeping in touch with council transport officers.

Cllr Les said: “He believes he can do both. I’ve seen no evidence that he isn’t fulfilling his role as executive member. He’s given up his day job too, so he has more time available each week. I’m sure he’s an honourable person and if he can’t feel he can do both roles he’ll speak to me about it. If I feel he’s not pulling his weight, I’ll speak to him.”

Before embarking on his trip around North Yorkshire to meet the electorate, Cllr Duncan stepped down from his job as a journalist at the Daily Star.

Cllr Les added: “What he does need to do is because he’s a member of North Yorkshire Council’s executive he needs to make sure he doesn’t breach protocols about using council resources to promote himself. At the moment, I have no evidence he is and he needs to continue to do the job that I’ve asked him to do on the executive.”

If Cllr Duncan becomes mayor, Cllr Les will be one of two North Yorkshire councillors on the combined authority board with him. City of York Council will also have two members.

Cllr Les said Cllr Duncan didn’t need to ask his permission for the tour, which he described as eye-catching. He added: “He thinks that’s the right way to deliver his campaign and reach out to people. The acid test is, is he going to win and will that campaign find favour with the electorate?”

Who is standing to be mayor?

The Green Party has chosen former soldier Kevin Foster as its candidate.

Keith Tordoff will stand as an independent after previously announcing he would run for the Yorkshire Party.

Keane Duncan, who is currently in charge of transport on North Yorkshire Council, is standing for the Conservatives.

Labour has chosen local business owner and chair of the York High Street Forum David Skaith.

The Liberal Democrats have announced Masham councillor Felicity Cunliffe-Lister as their candidate.