New Year Honour for Councillor Keith Wakefield

Keith Wakefield OBE

Councillor Keith Wakefield, former leader of Leeds City Council, was made an OBE by the Queen in the 2016 New Year's Honours List. Fabian offers this tribute to his work.

I have known Keith Wakefield since we were both young Labour Members of Leeds City Council – he was first elected in 1988 and I was elected the year before, leaving only when I became the MP for Leeds North East in 1997.  Keith went on to run the Council’s Schools, amongst many other senior positions, and then to become its Deputy Leader before being elected as successor to Brian Walker as Leader of Leeds City Council in 2003.  Unfortunately, when Labour lost power to a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the all-out Council elections of May 2004, Keith became Leader of the Council’s largest Party and Leader of the Opposition until, in 2010, Labour gained enough Council seats to take power again.  Keith resigned as Council Leader in June of 2015 after more than twelve years as Labour Leader in Leeds.  He currently chairs the Transport Committee of the West and North Yorkshire ‘Combined Authority’, an organisation he was instrumental in creating.

Keith Wakefield is a highly intelligent and well-educated man whose wisdom and good judgement has guided some of the most important decisions about the direction of the City of Leeds and its future as a pre-eminent major financial, economic and commercial centre not just in the United Kingdom, but throughout Europe as well.  Keith’s passion for reading is well-known as is his extraordinary commitment to cycling, something I share with him.  He is rightly credited with being instrumental in winning the Grand Départ of the Tour de France for Leeds – together with Sir Gary Verity – in 2014.  Keith certainly deserves his award of an OBE from The Queen.

For more details on the Order of the British Empire - Click here