Long-serving councillor Jim Shera is to stand down as the leader of Rugby Borough Council’s Labour group – and will be replaced with a woman fighting to be the town’s next MP.
Cllr Shera was elected for the tenth consecutive time last month by voters in the Benn ward. But having led the group for eight years, he feels the time is right to step down.
He said: “It has been an honour to serve as leader of the Labour group, but now I feel it is time to hand over the reins to a new generation of Labour leaders. I am confident that my successor will prove to be a very capable and will have my full support.”
Rugby Labour Party chairman Alan Webb said: “James has selflessly served our party and the people he represents for more than half his life. He has never put himself first and has been a close friend to me and an inspiration to so many people.
“His leadership, compassion, wisdom and humility are amongst the finest qualities James has. There comes a time to make way to others who have learned from the example he has set.
“Although standing down as group leader, James will still be a guiding influence to us in the Labour Party in the work we do to serve those we represent.”
Cllr Shera will be succeeded by Cllr Claire Edwards, who will be Labour’s candidate for Rugby at next year’s general election. She said: “James has been a mentor to me during my years on the borough council and I will continue to value his commitment, his experience and his hard work for and on behalf of Benn ward, the Labour Group and Rugby as a whole.
“He has always inspired me to do the best I can and in taking over the reins of group leader I want to build on his legacy.
“These are challenging times in local government and I want to fight for the best possible future for the people of Rugby.”