Leader of Westminster Labour group says he’ll ‘still be a thorn in Tories’ side’ as he steps down after 11 years

The ‘West End Extra’ reports:

Paul“The Leader of Westminster’s Labour group is stepping down after 11 years at the helm.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, who will remain as ward councillor for Queen’s Park, made the announcement at a council meeting in Porchester Hall, Bayswater, on Wednesday night.

Speaking to the West End Extra, he insisted he was “not going anywhere” and would continue to be “a thorn in the side of the Conservatives”.

 He said: “There is a time to go. I’ve been doing it for 11 years and you have to hand over some time, and the best time to hand over is when there are people available to do the job. I’ve got no doubt that whoever is elected will do a great job.” 

He added that a replacement would be decided at Labour’s annual meeting on June 8, and that the “obvious candidate” to succeed him would be Cllr Adam Hug, the current deputy leader of the opposition, but that whoever re­placed him would do a “great job”.

Councillor Dimoldenberg was first elected to the council in 1982 and was previously leader of the opposition between 1987 and 1990.

He is credited with helping to expose the disgraced former council leader Dame Shirley Porter, who was convicted of gerrymandering in council wards.

Author of a book on the “homes for votes” scandal, he later faced the prospect of being banned from public office after leaking secret High Court documents to the BBC Today programme in 2003, revealing the slow progress of recovering a £27 million “surcharge” from Dame Shirley.

 He runs a public relations firm called Quatro PR and is a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Councillor Dimoldenberg received a round of applause from his fellow councillors on Wednesday after giving a short speech. He said: “This is my last speech as leader of opposition. I will be stepping down as leader of opposition at our AGM on June 6. After 11 years as leader it is certainly time for someone new to lead us forward in the future. After seeing four more councillors elected in May, and helping Karen Buck secure five more years in Westminster North, I am confident we can continue.”

There are 16 Labour councillors elected to Westminster Council.”

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