I'm pleased to announce on Monday, 2nd March, I will be the new Lib Dem Group Leader and Leader of the Opposition on Gateshead Council. Our current leader, Frank Hindle, told the group at the end of the Full Council meeting in December that he was stepping down and wanted a new leader elected before the start of the local election campaign. So on Monday 23rd February, we held the leadership election. I won and as I was the existing deputy leader, this post was vacated and the group elected Ron Beadle as the new deputy.
Judging by the above video I need to get a motorbike (I've already got the leather jacket) to be leader of the pack! Anyway, below is the news release now circulated to the local media.
Gateshead Council Leader of Opposition Stands Down
Frank Hindle, who has been Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Gateshead Council since 2011 is to stand down from the post on Monday 2nd March.
The Low Fell Councillor announced his decision to his group in December so that there would be time to elect a new Leader before the start of the local election campaign.
On Monday 23rd February, the Lib Dem group elected Jonathan Wallace, Councillor for Whickham South and Sunniside, as the new Leader. Jonathan was previously the Deputy Leader.
In Jonathan’s place as Deputy, the group has elected Cllr Ron Beadle from Low Fell.
“It has been a great privilege to serve as Leader of the group and leader of the Opposition in Gateshead over the past 4 years,” said Frank. “These have been challenging years for the Lib Dems but we have held our ground.
“Last year we held all our council seats in Gateshead and came within 78 votes of taking another from Labour.
“But the current Parliament is about to end and the next one will face big challenges which will affect local government. I decided now is a good time to get a new team in place to take the Lib Dem group forward over the next five years.
“I am however looking forward to continuing as an active member of the council – and to building up my general election campaign to be next MP for Gateshead.”
Cllr Jonathan Wallace said, “Frank has been a great Leader over the past four years. I am determined that the Lib Dems will continue to punch above our weight and increase our strength in Gateshead.”
Cllr Ron Beadle said, “We have denied Labour their hope of creating a one-party state in Gateshead. Over the coming years I will be working with Jonathan to ensure the Lib Dem group on Gateshead Council holds Labour to account whilst growing our support across the borough.”
Photo above: Deputy Leader of the Pack Ron Beadle, me – the new Leader of the Pack, Frank Hindle, standing down as Leader, after the group elections on Monday.