Tony Arbour has today been appointed as the new chairman of the London assembly.

Jennette Arnold, Labour, has chaired the assembly for last year with Mr Arbour, Conservative, as the deputy chairman.

Ms Arnold, who will now take the role of deputy chairman, praised the work of the assembly over the last 12 months.

She said: “We have got to be proud, we have got to be courageous and we have got to continue to scrutinise.”

Tributes were paid to Ms Arnold in a rare moment of solidarity between the political parties.

Gareth Bacon praised the former chair for her work over the last year on behalf of the Conservative party assembly members.

Len Duvall spoke on behalf of the Labour party, Sian Berry for the Green party and Peter Whittle for UKIP who said Ms Arnold had always been “extremely fair”.

Caroline Pidgeon, the only Liberal Democrat party London assembly member said: “You are such an ambassador for scrutiny, something we have seen diminishing in local government. Thank you for all your work.”

It was however Mr Arbour who showed the biggest gesture of solidarity between the parties as he handed Ms Arnold flowers and gave her a hug.

Addressing Ms Arnold, he said: “I am giving you a hug as my Labour colleague not my opponent.”