Two councillors sacked by the previous leader of City of York Council have won their old jobs back.

The news comes as Conservative Ian Gillies was elected as the new leader of the council, as expected.

Keith Aspden and Nigel Ayre were stripped of their cabinet responsibilities on August 30 by the previous Conservative council leader David Carr.

Cllr Carr said he’d no choice given “the the seriousness of the allegations” against them – which have never been made public.

The decision caused a rift in the Tory-Lib Dem coalition which runs the council. The Lib Dems described the sackings as “unjust, unwarranted and unprecedented”.

On Thursday (March 8) it was announced that Cllrs Aspden and Ayre were rejoining the cabinet.

Cllr Aspden returns to his former post as executive member for economic development and community engagement. And Cllr Ayre is back as executive member for culture, leisure and tourism.

After being named York council leader, Ian Gillies said: “I believe that the shake-up within our group has given us the opportunity to refresh our efforts to work as hard as we can to deliver the quality of council that residents deserve.

“Our joint administration was set up to focus on frontline services and to deliver on key areas for York such as York Central and Castle Piccadilly, and following through on the policies and processes we agreed in 2015, which are as important now as ever.”

What they said

City of York Council’s West Offices. Photograph: YorkMix

Cllr Gillies will appoint three Conservative executive members shortly.

He fills the vacancy left with Cllr Carr was forced out as leader following his sacking of another cabinet member – fellow Conservative Stuart Rawlings.

The other key positions for the Liberal Democrats in the joint administration will be:

  • Andrew Waller – deputy leader of the council and executive member for environment
  • Carol Runciman – executive member for adult social care and health
  • Ann Reid – deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat Group

Cllr Keith Aspden
I am pleased to be returning to my previous portfolio covering Economic Development and Community Engagement and I will be working to ensure that we make progress on York’s economic strategy and continue to make sure that York’s communities benefit from the nearly £1 million a year that we have devolved for local decision-making.

Since last September, I have taken on new commitments including a Master’s degree.

This means that although I will become an Executive Member and continue as Liberal Democrat Group Leader, unfortunately I do not currently have the time to return to the role of Deputy Leader of the Council. I know that Andrew Waller will continue to do a great job in that role.

Cllr Keith Aspden

Cllr Nigel Ayre
The coming months will be crucial for the delivery of major projects in the city. My enthusiasm and commitment to these has never waned and I look forward to playing my part in delivering genuine positive change for the residents of York.

We must make sure that we continue to make progress on major projects, particularly the Community Stadium, and our strong commitment to protecting the city’s libraries.

Cllr Nigel Ayre