Cllr Rachel Bailey has revealed tonight (Tuesday 7th May) that she will step down as leader of Cheshire East Council’s Conservative group.
The councillor for Audlem made the announcement at the Conservative group’s agm.
Cllr Bailey will remain leader until 22nd May.
In a statement released tonight, the Conservatives said: “At tonight’s Conservative group annual general meeting, Cllr Rachel Bailey announced that she would be standing down as leader of the Conservative group but will continue as CEC leader until the full annual council meeting on 22nd May.
“Cllr Rachel Bailey thanked the group members for their ongoing support, however she feels that having fulfilled her commitments to the Conservative group, it is an opportune moment to step aside to enable a new leader to take on this important role.”
The statement continued: “Cllr Bailey received a standing ovation from all members of the group.
“Following Cllr Bailey’s announcement, Cllr Janet Clowes was unanimously elected as the new Conservative group leader.”
Cllr Bailey took over from former Cheshire East Conservative leader Michael Jones when he resigned in February 2016.
Her decision to stand down follow’s last week’s local election results in which saw the Conservatives lost control of Cheshire East Council for the first time since it was established in 2009.
Her own vote in the Audlem ward was more than halved (from 1,706 in 2015, to 746 this year).
Cheshire East Council now has 34 Conservative councillors, a loss of 19 since the 2015 election.
While Cllr Clowes (who is member for Wynbunbury) has been elected leader of the Conservative group, it’s not yet clear who the next leader of the council will be, given the lack of an overall majority for any of the main parties or groups.
Cheshire East Council’s new leader will be elected at full council on 22nd May.