The Liberal Democrats have announced that Masham businesswoman Felicity Cunliffe-Lister as their candidate to be York and North Yorkshire’s first mayor in May.
The party said the councillor for Masham and Fountains already had experience of taking on the Conservatives after winning her seat with a large swing to North Yorkshire Council’s official opposition Lib Dems a year ago.
Felicity said: “I’m delighted to have been selected as the Lib Dems’ candidate for mayor of York and North Yorkshire.
“The Conservatives are in complete disarray and they’ve run out of ideas. Under years of failed Tory governance, the region has been left behind. Now is the time for change.”
Felicity worked as a city solicitor specialising in commercial development before moving to North Yorkshire 24 years ago where she and husband Mark have raised their three children.
The couple bought Swinton Park in 2000 and converted it into a luxury castle hotel, transforming the Swinton Estate into a thriving business that has created 150 jobs and boasts a £6m turnover.
Felicity said: “Having run a business and brought up three children in Yorkshire, I know what a fantastic place it is – there’s a lot to be proud of and so much potential.
“At the same time, I get frustrated by lack of vision, inefficiency and missed opportunities, and as an entrepreneur I don’t shirk at saying how it is or making tough decisions. We need change for the better, and this is a great opportunity.”
Harrogate and Knaresborough Lib Dem general election candidate Tom Gordon said: “I’m delighted that Felicity has been selected. She will make a first-class mayor.
“The Conservatives have let us down. They’ve caused huge damage to our NHS, failed to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and allowed the dumping of sewage in our rivers.
“This is an opportunity for a fresh start for North Yorkshire, so I’d urge voters to support Felicity.”