Councillor Jo Lovelock has stepped down as leader of Reading Borough Council (RBC), with Councillor Jason Brock announced as her replacement.

She will continue to be a Norcot ward councillor.

Cllr Lovelock was leader of the council from 2008 to 2010 and again from 2011 till the present time.

Cllr Brock was the lead member for Corporate & Consumer Services and represents Southcote ward.

He will officially take over at Full Council on May 22.

Cllr Lovelock, 69, said: “I have stood down as leader of the council and Jason Brock has been elected in my place which I am really pleased about.

“I am reaching a significant age in less than 12 months. There comes a time when you know it is the right time to slow down a little bit.

“It has been a great privilege to be council leader and before that deputy leader. I hope I have made a contribution to the town.

“I am very grateful for the support of all my colleagues.

“I am proud of the fact that, despite all the difficulties, we continue to have electoral success given the results in the rest of the country.

“I am genuinely delighted that Jason is going to be council leader and I know he is going to do a great job.

“I will of course continue to be a Norcot ward councillor. I will have even more time to focus on issues in the ward.”

Cllr Lovelock has been part of the leadership team for 23 years, as leader of the Labour group for 11 years and deputy leader before that.

She was first elected to represent Norcot ward in 1986, before being re-elected in 1990, 1994, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.

Her current term of office runs until 2020.

Councillor Tony Page, deputy leader, will continue in his role.

Momentum Reading had, in April, called for a change of leadership at RBC.

Changes to lead member portfolios will be announced at Full Council on May 22.