THE council has confirmed Cllr Julian McGhee-Sumner as its new leader after he was elected by fellow members on Friday (December 14).

After being nominated the councillor, who is also Wokingham town mayor, laid out his vision for his leadership.

He said: “Every councillor in this chamber tonight sits here with one common objective – to represent our residents and it is to this fundamental principle that I wish to address this evening.

“Over the past few weeks I have spoken to a number of residents from across the borough and a common message has emerged.

“They like a lot of what we do – building more affordable homes, building new schools, looking after our vulnerable residents.

“However they have highlighted how we communicate and manage priorities, like cutting the grass, filling in potholes and collecting the rubbish is less than adequate.”

The councillor apologised for these “mistakes” and laid out how he intends to address resident’s concerns.

Cllr McGhee-Sumner’s election comes after Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor resigned in November after losing a confidence vote undertaken by the Conservative group.

The council voted on his  nomination, with Conservatives voting for his election, while Labour councillors and some Lib Dem councillors voted against, with other Lib Dem councillors abstaining.

The opposition leader, Liberal Democrats Cllr Lindsay Ferris, said: “Julian is the fourth leader of the council in a little over four years!.

“This to me clearly shows that the Conservative Group is badly divided, have lost their way and are just floundering about hoping someone will provide a way forward.

“It is rather like changing the Captain of the Titanic. The splits, lack of leadership and direction here simply mirrors what is going on with the Conservatives in Westminster.”

Cllr Ferris took aim at a number issues the Conservative group has come in for criticism for in the last few months, including delaying of the local plan to 2022, high levels of borrowing, overspends in children’s services and adult social care, the way the council undertakes consultations, a damning report into children’s services by Ofsted and the impact of the regeneration scheme on local businesses.