Conservative councillors in Brighton and Hove have elected Steve Bell as their new leader.
Councillor Bell faced competition from his ward colleague Councillor Dee Simson who is in her final few weeks as mayor of Brighton and Hove.
They were running to take over from Councillor Tony Janio who announced his resignation at the weekend after the Tories were defeated at the local elections last week.
Councillor Janio said that, having listened to voters on the doorstep and noted their verdict at the ballot box, he could not put himself forward to lead the local party again while Theresa May remained Prime Minister.
The party’s deputy leaders on Brighton and Hove City Council will be former council leader Councillor Mary Mears, who represents Rottingdean Coastal ward, and Councillor Lee Wares, who represents Patcham.
Councillor Bell said: “I am delighted to have been elected as group leader and to have the confidence of the Conservative group on the back of last week’s local elections.
”The election results for us were not as we would have hoped as the electorate demonstrated their anger at the government at the ballot box and with a vast number of our supporters staying at home.
”I believe in last week’s election there has been a clear message sent to us locally and to the government and I want the residents to know that locally we have heard you loud and clear.
”It now falls on me to ensure that the government also hears this message.
”There is much to be done to re establish the local Conservative brand and policies and as a group we have already begun to undertake this.
”Something I have always been proud of is the continued unity of the Conservative group in the city and this is a strength which we do not see in other parties.
”I am very proud to be elected leader of the city’s Conservative group whose members are like-minded, determined and united to work hard for the city of Brighton and Hove.”
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