New MP Claire Young steps down from council leader role

SOUTH Gloucestershire Council will have a new leader after Claire Young was elected as the MP for Thornbury & Yate.

The Liberal Democrat ousted Conservative Luke Hall at the General Election last Thursday.

Ms Young (pictured above speaking at the election count) previously said she would stand down as council leader if she was elected as an MP.

The Liberal Democrats and Labour run the local authority in a coalition, after taking power from the Tories following last year’s local elections.

Ms Young was appointed council leader with Labour group leader Cllr Ian Boulton assigned co-leader.

But it is understood that the new leader of the authority will be a Lib Dem, who will be decided among their ranks, as the party has more seats in the chamber than Labour, despite the fact neither have as many as the Conservatives.

A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: “The Liberal Democrat councillor group on South Gloucestershire Council is delighted that Claire Young has been elected as MP for Thornbury & Yate.

“She will make an excellent MP with all the positive qualities she has shown as council leader.

“The group is in the process of electing our new leader which will be announced at full council on July 17.

“We have many excellent councillors and expect them to carry on the good work Claire began.”

The spokesperson did not say whether or not the MP would continue as a ward councillor.

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said: “Congratulations to Cllr Claire Young, council leader, on being elected MP for Thornbury & Yate.

“In light of this new position, Claire has confirmed that she will step down as council leader at the council meeting on July 17 when a new leader will be appointed.”

Ms Young overturned a 12,369-vote Conservative majority to win last Thursday’s poll by more than 3,000 votes to get her seat in Westminster.

Former Tory MP Mr Hall, who finished second, fired a parting shot at his own party, which crumbled to a historic defeat, saying: “Divided political parties focused on themselves, rather than the issues that matter to our constituents, get punished at the ballot box – and quite rightly so.”

By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service