Bedford Borough’s youngest female Councillor Jade Uko was appointed Deputy Speaker of Bedford Borough Council at the Annual Meeting on Wednesday 11th May. Council meetings are chaired by the Speaker. The Speaker of the Council is a sitting Councillor elected to the office for a period of one year by Members of the Council at their Annual Meeting, held in May each year.
The Speaker and Deputy Speaker also represent the Council on formal occasions and at external functions with the Mayor and/or Deputy Mayor and otherwise as the Mayor determines. As members of the Council’s Civic Team, they attend a large number of events during the year including church services and religious festivals, graduation ceremonies, fetes, sporting events and concerts and major civic events.
Serving her first term as a councillor, Jade was elected in May 2015 to represent Goldington Ward, along with fellow Labour Councillor Anthony Forth. In the year since her election, as well as helping residents with local issues Jade has served on the Planning Committee and is also now on the Environment & Sustainable Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee. One of the highlights from her first year as a councillor was securing funding of £8k from a Tesco scheme for the installation of outside gym equipment and the refurbishment of the leisure ground at Ettrick Drive.
Jade, 29, grew up in Goldington. She lives with her husband and children and works as an analyst and researcher.
Jade said: “The role of Deputy Speaker & Speaker may have traditionally gone to members of the council that have been around for a long time, but I don’t feel we should limit ourselves to rule by elders. I will bring a fresh perception and idea of what a councillor can be to a role which is little understood by the public.”
“I carefully considered whether to put myself forward as I wanted to feel sure that I had something to offer. I also want to reach out to a group that often feels marginalised by politicians - young women with families - and demonstrate to them something that I feel passionately about and aim to convey to others; positions of influence are up for grabs, for you and for anyone. If you care about your community and the future of our Borough, you can get involved.”