Barnet Council leader Richard Cornelius steps down, Dan Thomas will take over

Conservative leader Richard Cornelius

Conservative leader Richard Cornelius - Credit: Archant

The leader of Barnet Council, Richard Cornelius, will not be seeking to extend his eight year stay at the helm.

Cllr Cornelius, who has been a councillor for Totteridge since 2006, informed the town hall's majority Tory group over the weekend that he would not be seeking re-election as leader at the local party's annual AGM.

Instead, his current deputy Cllr Dan Thomas - who represents Finchley Church End ward - will be the only candidate to take over the reins at Hendon Town Hall.

In a statement released today, the councillor said it "was time for someone else to have a turn".

Cllr Cornelius continued: "I have enjoyed the challenge of making the money go further. This has not always been easy and we have had to make some difficult decisions, but the borough is now in a better place."

He said he was proud of his achievements and would continue as a councillor.

He also wished his successor Cllr Thomas well, saying: "I am confident he will be successful and hope he enjoys his time as much as I have."

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The AGM, which is to take place next Thursday, sees the political group vote on who their executives and cabinet reps will be ahead of the Annual Council meeting on May 21.

Cllr Cornelius' opposite number, leader of the Labour group Cllr Barry Rawlings, tweeted when the news broke: "I wish him and his family well for the future.

"I know he was saddened by the way the party he has devoted much of his life to is falling apart at the seams and this may well have influenced his decision."

It is thought that a number of candidates have put their names forward to take over from Cllr Thomas as deputy leader, including Golders Green councillor and 2018-19 mayor Reuben Thompstone.