Dr Bob Buxton, who joined the party when it was founded in 2014 and was subsequently elected to Rawdon Parish Council in 2015, and was re-elected in 2019, took over from Chris Whitwood, who stood down last month.
Dr Buxton said: “I am honoured to become party leader. I look forward to carrying on the hard work of fighting for proper devolution for Yorkshire and the benefits it will bring. I want Yorkshire to become an example of prosperity, equality and success to which other regions aspire.”
Dr Buxton praised Mr Whitwood, and said: “He worked tirelessly during an incredibly busy multi-election period. In every election last year – parish, town and district councils, European and General Election – we had more candidates and more votes per candidate than ever before.
“Hard work by candidates in Selby and Bridlington yielded not just our first district council victory but our first six. We also gained seats at the grassroots level of politics, on town and parish councils across Yorkshire; there is lots of good practice for us to learn from and build on.”
But he added: “We are still a long way from our objectives of bringing decision making closer to the local people of Yorkshire and improving our transport, education, housing, environment, health services, economy and much more besides.”
The Yorkshire Party will contest mayoral elections, expected in 2021 and 2022, despite its disappointment in the level of devolution on offer.
Dr Buxton said: “Phoney, underfunded devolution is being thrust upon us, despite 90 per cent of our district councils preferring One Yorkshire devolution. The people of Yorkshire were never given the choice formally but surveys suggest huge support for a One Yorkshire solution.
“The funding for Mayoral devolution is a pittance compared with Scotland, Wales and NI, to say nothing of huge public-spending levels in London – Yorkshire is still treated as the poor relation. Nevertheless, we shall fight to be elected and to make the most of what is available. Hopefully, that will encourage greater devolution in the future. However long it takes, however much work it is, we will win.”