Steve Gallant expected to become leader of new East Suffolk Council
PUBLISHED: 21:43 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:04 14 May 2019
The probable future leader of the newly-formed East Suffolk Council has been elected as the local Conservative group chose their new leader.
Felixstowe district councillor Steve Gallant is one of 39 Conservatives who won seats on the 55-strong council in the elections earlier this month, giving them a majority of 23 over the opposition.
He will now be expected to be elected as East Suffolk Council's first leader, when the council holds its annual meeting next week.
Mr Gallant served as a local police inspector before retiring, and was first elected to the old Suffolk Coastal District Council in 2015, serving as cabinet member for community health up to the recent elections.
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After being elected leader of East Suffolk Conservatives, Mr Gallant said: "It is a great honour to have been elected Group leader at what is such an exciting and historic time for East Suffolk.
In reaching this position, I am aware I have very big shoes to fill. Both Mark Bee and Ray Herring have been huge figures on the local stage and we are in a much stronger position thanks to their efforts.
"In particular, I would like to pay tribute to Ray Herring, who was leader of Suffolk Coastal for 20 years - the longest-serving district leader in the country - and who has worked tirelessly for the people and communities of Suffolk Coastal over these years.
"Looking forward, I am extremely ambitious for East Suffolk.
"I have an excellent group of councillors behind me and, pending next week's council meeting, we have a great opportunity to build on the solid foundations we have been given, and to put in place the plans and investment for the future that will make a positive difference for the people and communities of East Suffolk."