Reading has a new mayor.

New mayor councillor David Stevens was appointed to the ceremonial role by Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) virtual Policy committee last night.

Councillor Rachel Eden, who stood for MP in Reading West last year, is the new deputy mayor.

Following tonight's online meeting of the Policy Committee, we are pleased to announce the new Mayor of #rdguk , Cllr David Stevens & the Deputy Mayor , Cllr Rachel Eden. Cllr Stevens with the Mayoress Alison Stevens & Cllr Eden with her escort for the year Cllr Richard Davies.

— ReadingCouncil (@ReadingCouncil) May 27, 2020

Normally the handover takes place in a grand ceremony in the town hall. The outgoing mayor passes the mace to the incoming mayor, the oath of office is sworn and speeches are made.

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This was due to take place on June 2, 2020, but has been postponed until social distancing guidance allows it to take place.

Cllr Stevens said: “It is not a grand start. The Covid-19 virus has upended our world and this is just small reminder of that.”

A Conservative member of the council for Thames ward, Cllr Stevens was the deputy mayor, as well as chairman of the Audit & Governance committee, a role he will continue.

Cllr Stevens said he will be visiting different wards over the next few weeks by bicycle, wearing his mayoral outfit and saying hello to as many people as possible.

He thanked colleagues for nominating and appointing him to the role and praised his predecessor.

The Tory councillor takes over from Cllr Paul Woodward, who delivered his own video speech.

New deputy mayor Cllr Eden is a Labour member for Whitley and stood as a candidate in Reading West in the general election last year, finishing second toAlok Sharma. She has taken over from Cllr Deborah Edwards.

Other appointments were also confirmed, including Cllr Adele Barnett-Ward replacing Cllr Sophia James in the Neghbourhoods and Communities lead member role.

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Paul Gittings has taken over from Cllr Adele Barnett-Ward as chairman of the Strategic Environment, Planning & Transport committee.

All councillors approved the appointments except Cllr Rob White, of the Green Party, who said he would prefer Green councillors to be appointed to the roles.

Meanwhile, committee meetings that have been postponed, such as the Audit & Governance and Traffic Management sub-committee, are provisionally set to return in July.