Enfield Conservative's group leader Michael Lavender confirms departure after heavy election defeat

Tory group leader Michael Lavender has announced he is stepping down from the role

Tory group leader Michael Lavender has announced he is stepping down from the role

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The leader of Enfield's Conservative opposition group says he will not be sad to step down after four years in the role.

Councillor Michael Lavender will not put himself forward for the leadership at tonight’s Tory group meeting, with colleague and shadow finance portfolio holder Councillor Terence Neville tipped to replace him.

The Conservatives suffered a heavy blow at last month’s local elections, losing seats across the borough as Labour’s majority rose from nine seats to 19.

The Tory group is due to meet this evening to elect a leader, group leader and various shadow positions, all of which will be officially announced at a full council meeting on Wednesday.

Confirming his departure as leader this afternoon, the Cockfosters ward councillor told the Enfield Independent he feels the time is right to move on.

The full-time lawyer, who joined the council in 1998 and has spent the past 15 years as deputy leader and leader, said: “I think it is time for a change. I will not be leader as of Wednesday, but I won’t be sad – 15 years is a long time.

“If you look back at my time on the council, we won two big elections before losing out in 2010 and 2014, which were affected by the general and European elections.

“I don’t think the political make-up of the council truly represents the pros and cons of the parties in the area.

“I have had my time and this role takes a lot out of you. To keep doing it alongside a full-time job is unsustainable.

“We had some fantastic achievements between 2002 and 2010 and it feels like it is now someone else’s turn. I have thoroughly enjoyed it.”

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