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Westminster City Council leader stands down to prioritise Lords role triggering election

Baroness Couttie is stepping down after 10 years in Westminster City Council

Philippa Marion Roe, Baroness Couttie, will be leaving her role as leader of Westminster council

The Leader of Westminster City Council has announced she is standing down to focus on becoming a peer in the House of Lords.

Councillor Baroness Couttie said she is no longer able to carry out her local authority duties in the way she could before the appointment and therefore will be stepping down.

Explaining to the council on November 2 (Wednesday), the Baroness said the "time is right to hand over the baton to someone new" and thanked everyone for their support.

She said: "It was very much my intention and hope that I would be able to continue in my role as Leader of Westminster City Council at the same time as serving in the House of Lords.

"However, having now spent six weeks in the Lords and talked at length to fellow working peers, I have a fuller understanding of the time commitments required and how that will impact on my ability to discharge my duties as leader."

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The Baroness said: "I have truly loved being leader of Westminster and know that to do this hugely important role justice, it requires complete focus.

"I have therefore reluctantly decided that, in order to serve the best interests of Westminster, I must hand on the baton to a new leader for the city, as I do not believe it is possible to undertake both roles to the level I would wish to. "

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Elected into the council in 2006, Baroness Couttie was responsible for the Strategic Finance and Housing porfolios before being pushed up to the leader position in 2012.

In 2015, the Tory councillor launched the ambitious City for All vision to create a place of Heritage, Choice and Aspiration, before being elevated to the House of Lords in 2016.

Moving forward, there will be a Majority Group leadership election on December 7.

The appointment of a new leader of Westminster City Council is expected to be approved at the full council meeting on January 25.

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