By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan
Kent County Council’s (KCC) main opposition leader has revealed he will be leaving his role in May after serving as a councillor for almost a decade.
Cllr Rob Bird, who leads the Liberal Democrat party at KCC, says he will be standing down at the County Hall elections in less than three months’ time.
The Maidstone Central member said he wants to take on “new challenges” as he paid tribute to serving thousands of residents living in his constituency for the last eight-and-a-half years.
In a statement, Cllr Bird said: “After much careful consideration, I have decided not to stand at May’s KCC elections.
“It has been a great privilege to represent the residents of Maidstone Central for the past eight-and-a-half years.
“However, I feel the time has now come for me to take on some new challenges.”
A new leader has yet to be decided, with an internal party vote to take place soon after the KCC elections on May 6, with West Malling county councillor Trudy Dean (Lib Dem) the current deputy leader.
In 2017, Cllr Bird led his party to a small election victory as the Liberal Democrats became the second largest party at County Hall, with seven seats, ahead of traditional Tory rivals, Labour, who retained only five.
However, his group makes up a tiny fraction of the total 81 seats at County Hall, with the local authority composed of an overwhelming majority of 63 Conservative councillors.
Residents will be able to cast their local elections vote at the KCC ballot box on Thursday, May 6.