New Leader looks forward to making borough a place our young people can build careers

Published Thursday 19 May 2022 at 18:57

Coun Phil Riley has been confirmed as the new Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council at the Annual Council meeting in Blackburn Town Hall earlier this evening.

Coun Riley is looking forward to working with his Labour colleagues to continue the economic progress that has been made in the borough in recent years. He said:

We have just received an overwhelming vote of confidence from the borough’s voters in the local elections and we want to continue to provide opportunities for the borough’s young people to live and build their careers here.

Coun Riley was first elected to Blackburn with Darwen Council in 2011. He represents the Roe Lee ward, where he lives with his long-term partner Ann.

He’s worked closely with former Blackburn MP Jack Straw throughout Jack’s long and distinguished political career. Coun Riley has also acted as Parliamentary agent for Kate Hollern MP.

Coun Riley is formerly the Council’s Executive Member for Growth & Development with a passion for inward investment to boost the borough’s economic growth.

For the last seven years, he has been Deputy Leader of the Council under Mohammed Khan CBE who retired at this year’s local elections.

Coun Riley commented:

It was a great honour to work with my long term friend Mohammed Khan. I only hope that I can be as good a leader as he has been.

Denise Park, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Chief Executive, said:

After the last two years, we’re getting back to business as usual and refreshing the Council’s corporate plan and identifying priorities for the years ahead. I’m looking forward to working with Coun Riley as Leader as we deliver on these priorities.

Raised in Chorley, Coun Riley was schooled in Preston and graduated from University College, London with a degree in history.

Before retiring in 2010, Coun Riley worked within the food industry as a Senior IT Executive.

Coun Riley is a long standing supporter and season ticket holder at Blackburn Rovers.

Also at the Annual Council meeting, the Deputy Leaders of the Council and Executive Members were confirmed. These are:

Deputy Leaders Quesir Mahmood (senior)

& Julie Gunn

Executive Member for Adult Social Care & Health Mustafa Desai
Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention & Wellbeing Damian Talbot
Executive Member for Children’s, Young People & Education Julie Gunn
Executive Member for Environment & Operations Jim Smith
Executive Member for Growth & Development Quesir Mahmood
Executive Member for Digital & Customer Services Mahfooz Hussain
Executive Member for Finance & Governance


Vicky McGurk

Other appointments to the Council’s various committee were confirmed. More detail is available on the democracy pages of the Blackburn with Darwen Council website.

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