The new leader of Reading Borough Council (RBC), Councillor Jason Brock, has paid tribute to Councillor Jo Lovelock, who has stepped down from her role as leader.

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

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

Cllr Brock said: "I am absolutely delighted that my colleagues in the Labour group have placed their trust in me to be the leader and I want to do them proud.

"I would like to pay tribute to the excellent, sterling role Jo has played. She has been an outstanding public servant for Reading.

"She really has been an absolutely fantastic leader for us and she has been selfless.

"Looking to the future, I look forward to continuing Labour's long record of delivering for people in Reading.

"We will be working hard for everyone to deliver meaningful benefits for our communities."

Cllr Brock is also a senior researcher at the Fabian Society, a left wing think-tank.

Cllr Lovelock, who was leader of the council from 2008 to 2010 and from 2011 to now, will continue to be a Norcot ward councillor.

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

First elected to represent Norcot ward in 1986, she has been re-elected in every election since.

Her current term of office runs until 2020.

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.”

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

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

He said: "I am very pleased about Jason being elected as leader.

"I have paid tribute to Jo's length of service and our close working relationship over many years which I have every confidence will continue with Jason in the future."

Cllr Page, 65, added: "I am more than happy to continue as deputy leader and I recognise that there is a need for the younger generation to be brought forward.

"I hope that my experience will help Jason and the controlling Labour group to go from strength to strength.

"We have a lot of new talent among our group. I hope to be part of nurturing that."

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