John Halsall has been announced as the new leader of the Wokingham Conservative Group after former chief Julian McGhee-Sumner lost his council seat at the local elections earlier this month. 

This means Councillor Halsall could be elected leader of Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) at a council meeting on Wednesday, May 22, when councillors from all parties will vote on his nomination as leader.

If the ward member for Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe’s nomination is voted through, he will be the third leader of Wokingham Borough Council in little more than six months. 

This comes after Charlotte Haitham Taylor was forced out by her Conservative Party colleagues in November 2018.

Pauline Jorgensen took charge as interim leader before Julian McGhee-Sumner stepped up to the helm in December 2018.

But a vacancy opened up at the top of the authority after Liberal Democrat Maria Gee took Julian McGhee-Sumner’s Wescott seat at this month’s local elections.

Councillor Halsall has been in charge of the council's work on leisure, libraries and environmental issues since December 2018 and recently encouraged residents to give their thoughts on the borough's council-owned sports and recreational facilities.

He was also a vocal critic of Rewind Festival's plans to expand its capacity at its forthcoming music events in his Remenham ward.

And in 2018 he was part of the Campaign to Protect Rural Wokingham, a group which set up a petition to halt housing developments on the borough's Green Belt. 

Councillors are set to meet for the authority’s annual meeting on Wednesday, May 22.

Before members vote on the council’s new leader, a new Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be appointed for the 2019/2020 municipal year. 

A report which outlines the results of the 2019 local elections will also be heard prior to the election of the new leader. 

After that, councillors will vote on appointments to panels, working groups, outside bodies and council committees.