Ellie Ames 16 May 2024

Hampshire leader announces abrupt resignation

Hampshire leader announces abrupt resignation image
Image: Hampshire County Council

The leader of Hampshire County Council has announced he is standing down next week after two years in the role.

Conservative leader Rob Humby said he was stepping down with ‘deep regret’ and would also retire as a councillor before next year’s county council elections.

It comes after he asked Russell Oppenheimer to step down from the council’s cabinet over ‘confidentiality issues’ last month.

Hampshire said it was unable to provide further details on the issue.

The council set out changes to the cabinet after Cllr Oppenheimer left his role as executive member in April but said Cllr Humby would remain leader.

However, Cllr Humby announced yesterday that he was standing down, with effect from next Thursday (23 May).

In a statement, he said he was a ‘staunch champion’ of the work of councils, but that ‘local government nationally is facing possibly its most challenging period ever’.

He said Hampshire was approaching a period of ‘crucial decision-making’ this summer to help address future funding issues, adding that it was right for his successor to have the ‘necessary time and capacity’ to consider plans for Hampshire’s services.

During Cllr Humby’s 17-year political career, he has served on Winchester City Council, including as leader, and for 11 years as a county councillor.

Winchester and Chandler's Ford MP Steve Brine said on X: ‘Sorry but not surprised to hear of this news. Rob Humby is a thoroughly decent man and I wish him all the best for the future.’

A new leader will be elected at the council’s annual general meeting next Thursday.

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