Lib Dem leader stands down
LIBERAL Democrat Simon Cook has stood down as leader of the party as he takes up his new position in George Ferguson's cabinet.
The move will mean the Lib Dems will elect a new leader at a meeting taking place next Monday night.
Positions for a deputy leader and group whip will also be up for grabs as the party contends with a reshuffle after the recent defeat at the mayoral elections.
Members last night paid tribute to the leadership of Councillor Cook, who succeeded Barbara Janke as group and council leader in May. He has been given responsibility for culture and sport in the Mayor's cabinet.
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Mrs Janke said: "I'd like to thank Simon for taking on the role of leader. He has given the group a very good public profile and I know he will continue to do so in the cabinet."
A Lib Dem spokesman said Mr Cook stepped down "under rules prohibiting anyone holding both membership of the mayoral cabinet and the group leadership".
Current deputy leader of the party is Jon Rogers, who was nominated to run for mayor at a meeting in September.
The councillor for Ashley Ward came fourth in the elections with just 6,202 first preference votes.
Simon Cook will join the Conservative's mayoral candidate Geoff Gallop in the cabinet, who is responsible for the city's finances.
The third and final seat at the slimmed cabinet will be occupied by the Green Party's Gus Hoyt, who will be responsible for neighbourhoods and environment. George Ferguson will take charge of the responsibilities left for Labour councillors.