Newport council leader Debbie Wilcox steps down after peerage

Debbie Wilcox
Image caption Debbie Wilcox says she will be very sad to no longer lead the authority

The leader of Newport City Council says she will step down "with a tear in my eye" to join the house of Lords.

Debbie Wilcox - who also leads the Welsh Local Government Association - was nominated by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for her outstanding contribution to education and local government.

The former teacher was elected to the council in 2004 and had been its leader since 2016.

She told councillors it was a "great honour" to be made a life peer.

The peerage was confirmed on Tuesday in the resignation honours list of former prime minister Theresa May, which includes nominations from other parties.

Baroness Wilcox announced she was stepping down as Newport's leader at a meeting of the full council later that day, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

She said she would have to do so "at least in the short term" to take up her new role.

"I will be very sad to do that," she said. "I will be leaving with a tear in my eye because I love this job."

Her Labour colleague and deputy leader Councillor Mark Whitcutt said the peerage was "well deserved", while Mayor William Routley said it was "a proud moment" for the council, the city and its people.

Opposition group leaders also offered their congratulations, with Liberal Democrat Carmel Townsend praising Baroness Wilcox as a "very good leader and "very approachable".

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