Rachel Bailey

Cheshire East leader steps down

Following local elections where the leading Conservative group lost control of the council for the first time in its history, Cllr Rachel Bailey has announced she will step down as leader in the coming weeks.

The leading Conservatives took a heavy blow at last week’s election, losing 19 seats, meaning it lost control of the council for the first time since it was formed in 2009. Labour gained nine seats, taking it to 25, while independents now occupy 19 seats, and the Lib Dems four.

The result leaves the council in no overall control.

Cllr Bailey will relinquish her role as leader on 22 May, when Cheshire East will meet for its annual council meeting. She had been the leader since 2016 after replacing Cllr Michael Jones, who stepped down following allegations of improper conduct.

The Conservative group unanimously elected Wybunbury Councillor Janet Clowes as leader following Bailey’s announcement; Clowes currently sits on the council’s Southern planning committee.

In a statement following a meeting last night, Cheshire East’s Conservative Group said: “Cllr Rachel Bailey thanked the group members for their on-going support, however she feels that having fulfilled her commitments to the Conservative group, it is an opportune moment to step aside to enable a new leader to take on this important role.

“Cllr Bailey received a standing ovation from all members of the group.”

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