Cheshire West and Chester Council leader Cllr Samantha Dixon has stepped down as leader of the local Labour group, after losing overall control of the council in the recent local elections.
The Labour group in Cheshire West unanimously voted in support of Cllr Louise Gittins to take over as their new leader and leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council.
The outgoing leader, who proposed Louise as the new leader, commented: “I am delighted to hand over the reins of leadership to Cllr Louise Gittins who has served as the deputy leader of the council alongside me for the past four years.
“She will be an excellent leader who will represent Cheshire West and Chester residents and deliver on Labour’s ambitious plans to build stronger communities in our borough.”
Cllr Gittins said of her predecessor: “Samantha Dixon has been a fantastic leader of the council since 2015.
“Her lasting legacy remains the decision to put respect back into the heart of the council and this has been one of the core values that she has driven forward over the last four years.”
She continued: “Under Sam’s leadership the council has been transformed, winning numerous awards including ‘Council of the Year’ from the Association of Public Service Excellence in 2018.
“I am proud that in spite of ongoing government cuts, we have balanced the budget every year and continue to protect the most vulnerable local residents.”
Cllr Gittins added: “Sam will be a hard act to follow, but I’m up for the challenge.
“We will continue to be a council that empowers local communities, working together to create services based on local need and social value, not just financial value.”
Cllr Dixon added that she is glad to remain to be part of the Labour Party locally, and that it was an honour and privilege to serve as leader.
She said: “I have found it very demanding serving the whole borough as well as the very busy Chester city ward.
“I now intend to return to the back benches to join my colleagues Cllr Martyn Delaney and Cllr Bob Rudd in giving the very best representation to the residents of the newly formed Chester City and Garden Quarter ward.”
Cllr Karen Shore was elected as the party’s new deputy leader in Cheshire West, with Labour having most seats on the borough council, but ultimately falling one short of an overall majority.
New leader, Cllr Gittins said: “Following a challenging set of election results across the country, in Cheshire West Labour won the most seats and therefore we remain the largest party.
“We have a four year plan to build stronger communities in this borough and we are open to working together with all elected councillors so that we can continue to get the things done that matter to the residents we have all been elected to represent.”