Wakefield mayor Tracey Austin to stand down as Labour councillor at 2022 local elections

Wakefield's current mayor has confirmed she will stand down as a councillor in May when her current term expires.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 4:49 pm

Tracey Austin has been a Labour councillor for the last 16 years.

She was elected to serve the Hemsworth ward in 2006, before switching seats to her local Wakefield North ward in 2010.

Since last May she has been the district's mayor, which is a ceremonial apolitical role appointed on a rolling annual basis.

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Coun Austin will stand down when her respective terms as councillor and mayor expire in May.

Coun Austin, who works for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said she was standing down to focus on qualifying as a paramedic.

She said: "My career's progressing with the Ambulance Service and now I've got the chance to go back to uni, it's the right time for me to stand down and focus on that side of things, rather than politics.

"Being mayor has been a wonderful way to end the last 16 years because you're representing the district. I don't think you realise just how many people out there such amazing work until you get the chance to go out and meet them as I've been able to do.

"I'll still be involved with Labour and in the community, just not as a councillor anymore."

Coun Austin, who works for YAS, said she was leaving politics to focus on becoming a paramedic.

Coun Austin said she wanted to thank her constituents in both Hemsworth and Wakefield North for electing her, describing them as "warm and welcoming" from her very first days in the job.

She also backed Labour's new candidate David Pickersgill, who will contest her seat at May's local elections.

Mr Pickersgill is a retired mental health nurse who worked at Fieldhead Hospital, where he was also a senior union rep for UNISON.

Mr Pickersgill said: "I've long been a Labour party member and activist. Being a councillor's something I've always thought I wouldn't mind doing, so when the opportunity came up I put my name forward, and I'm delighted to have been selected.

David Pickersgill, a retired mental health nurse, has been chosen as Labour's new election candidate for Wakefield North.

"There's a long way to go between now and May, but I'm looking forward to it.

Local Democracy Reporting Service