West Berkshire’s council leader has resigned from the role – to focus on trying to win the next General Election.

Lee Dillon took the helm of the council after last May’s local council elections when the Liberal Democrats took control from the Conservatives.

He will go up against sitting Newbury Conservative MP Laura Farris once the election is called.

Mr Dillon, the ward councillor for Thatcham North East, issued the following statement: “Now a spring General Election is impossible I also must reassess my position as council leader.

“Given the elongated national campaign that is now in front of us I feel it is only right that I formally step down as leader of the council so I can focus on the election, and a new leader can take the council forward.

“Leading our party into the May elections last year and securing an election landslide that has given us the opportunity to deliver our manifesto commitments has been a huge honour for me personally.

“As the council leader I saw sadly first hand how our hands are tied, or sometimes forced by central Goverment into actions that aren’t right for our community.

“Since January I have been busy listening to residents.

“I have been out every week knocking on doors in Lambourn, Peasemore, East Garston, Hungerford, Newbury and Thatcham.

“Support continues to grow and national polls show it is a straight choice between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives here in Newbury.

“So, as we look towards a General Election in the near future, I will continue to be out speaking to local communities and residents, and our council will still continue to deliver under a new Liberal Democrat council leader.”

The deputy leader of the council, Jeff Brooks (Lib Dem, Thatcham West) has been acting leader for the past four months.

He was officially made leader following the council's annual meeting on Thursday, May 9.

The other executive members are:

Denise Gaines (Lib Dem, Hungerford & Kintbury) - Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing

Iain Cottingham (Lib Dem, Thatcham Central) - Finance and Resources (Audit, Risk, Commissioning, Procurement)

Louise Sturgess (Lib Dem, Newbury Central) - Economic Development and Regeneration

Patrick Clark (Lib Dem, Newbury Wash Common) - Adult Social Care & Public Health

Heather Codling (Lib Dem, Chieveley & Cold Ash) - Children and Family Services

Nigel Foot (Lib Dem, Newbury Clay Hill) - Culture, Leisure, Sport, and Countryside

Stuart Gourley (Lib Dem, Newbury Clay Hill) - Environment and Highways

Vicky Poole (Lib Dem, Burghfield & Mortimer) - Transformation and Corporate Programme (ICT and Digital Services)

Lee Dillon (Lib Dem, Thatcham North East) - Public Safety and Community Engagement