THE OUTGOING leader of Southampton City Council is due to step down following defeat at the polls.

Councillor Dan Fitzhenry will be replaced as head of the Conservative Group in the city.

Having led his party for four years a decision has now been made to appoint a new boss.

Cllr Marley Guthrie is now due to take over as head of the opposition party on the council.

It comes after Labour’s victory in the local elections on May 5.

Despite stepping down, Fitzhenry, who represents the Harefield ward, will remain a backbench councillor.

READ MORE: Southampton City Council elections 2022: Full list of results

In a recent post on social media, he said: “At our Southampton Conservative Group meeting on Tuesday night I was unfortunately unsuccessful in my bid to be re-elected as Leader of the Conservative Group on the council.

“I want to thank our Conservative Group for the past four years I have served as your leader. It has been a huge pleasure and honour to serve our group for three years as leader of the opposition and one year as leader of the council.

“I have had incredible fun and am very proud of all we have achieved both in opposition and leading the council.

“I will now go to the backbenches and wish the new Leader of our group Marley Guthrie best wishes for the future.

“Thank you to you all for what has been an incredible period at the “forefront” of local politics in our city for the last four years.”

When asked why he thinks his party didn’t accept his bid to lead them, he said: “Change always brings about opportunity and this is an opportunity for the group to take a new direction and which I respect fully and will support.”

Meanwhile, the new leader, Cllr Guthrie, who represents Sholing, said he is "very honoured" to have been chosen by the group and that now the party will be working on what it can do to better serve the people of Southampton and "respond to their concerns. 

When asked about the outgoing leader, Cllr Guthrie said: “Dan is an incredibly gifted and dedicated public servant. Those are not easy shoes to fill. He’s given a great deal to the party and the city itself.”

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