Trudy Dean steps down as leader of Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council
PUBLISHED: 12:05 18 May 2017
The Malling Central councillor is being replaced by Rob Bird
The Liberal Democrats in Kent have confirmed Trudy Dean is stepping down from her position as leader of the group on Kent County Council.
Cllr Dean, who retained her Malling Central seat in the local elections earlier this month with an increased share of the vote, has been in the role for two decades but is now set to be replaced by Maidstone Central councillor Rob Bird.
The Lib Dems replaced Ukip as the main party of opposition to the Conservatives after winning seven seats at County Hall, with council leader Paul Carter insisting he expected Cllr Dean to prove a strong opponent in the chamber.
“All leaders want to step down in favour of the safe hands of a talented successor,” Cllr Dean said.
“I have worked very hard to lead and support the Lib Dem group as a well informed and constructive group at KCC.
“I laid plans for my deputy, Rob Bird to take my place two years ago and I am extremely pleased that today those plans have come to fruition.
“I am absolutely confident that Rob has all the skills necessary to fulfil the role with great success.
“He is hard working and committed to the crucial role that local government plays in our county, especially for more vulnerable people.
“Having a background in finance, and serving as chairman of Maidstone CAB, he has an excellent knowledge base from which to champion the needs of Kent people.
“I was pleased to be asked to serve as his deputy.”
She added that she will be continuing as a councillor, and that there were “many projects I still have to complete”.
Cllr Bird said: “Trudy has served as group leader with great distinction for the past 20 years.
“She has massive experience and has commanded the respect of all members of the council and of the people of Kent.
“I am extremely honoured to be her successor and delighted that she has agreed to be my deputy.
“The recent elections have given Cllr Carter’s Conservative group a very large majority which will be a challenge for all opposition members.
“But this does not diminish the need for effective opposition and scrutiny.
“The Liberal Democrats are committed to challenging the administration to ensure that KCC services are efficiently, effectively and fairly provided for all Kent residents.”