The leader of Southampton City Council has stepped down to fight the next general election.

Satvir Kaur has been in the role since Labour regained their majority in 2022, becoming the first female Sikh council leader in Britain.

This afternoon, she announced she would be stepping down to allow for a ‘smooth and orderly transition’ to a new leader.

Cllr Kaur is vying for Labour MP Alan Whitehead’s Southampton Test seat at the general election, which is thought will take place next year.

She said: "Being leader of the council for the city I was born and bred in has been the honour of my life and it is with great sadness that I step away from this role."

She has been succeeded as leader of the council by current deputy leader Cllr Lorna Fielker, who is also cabinet member for adults, health and housing.

READ MORE: Live reaction as council leader steps down

Cllr Fielker’s role as deputy leader has been taken over by Cllr Simon Letts.

The pair were voted through unanimously by Labour councillors on Tuesday evening and will take up their role with immediate effect.

Cllr Fielker will be appointing her cabinet in the coming days.

She said: “Being elected the new leader of Southampton City Council by my fellow councillors is a huge privilege.

“I would like to thank them for their support and confidence in me.

“I would also like to praise Cllr Kaur for her dedication and tireless service to the city.

“She has achieved a great deal for Southampton during her time and can be rightfully proud of these accomplishments.

“This is even more impressive when we consider the financial hardship that the Tory Government has inflicted on local authorities and the financial challenges this has caused.

“The long-term solution to these problems is fairer funding for local government and I can think of no better advocate for Southampton in Parliament than Cllr Kaur.”

She added: “I look forward to working with my cabinet, council officers and partners to build on this good work and providing the long-term stability the council needs moving forwards.

“We remain fully focused on delivering for our communities, who might have been forgotten by the Conservatives nationally, but not by Labour locally.”

Alan Whitehead MP said he applauds Satvir for ‘making the right decision for the city’.

He said: “We could face a general election within weeks, and so many other councillors across the country are also stepping aside to allow their replacements to start work immediately.

“Southampton desperately needs a Labour government to fix our public services, and we cannot take anything for granted.

“Satvir can now focus on winning the election and being part of a Labour Government that can help our communities far better than the Tories ever will.”