THE leader of Hampshire County Council has announced his intention to step down this year – after almost five decades as a councillor.
Councillor Roy Perry has thanked his family and the staff at the council for their support and reminisced about his time in local politics.
He said: ‘I am fortunate to continue to enjoy good health but judge now is a good and appropriate time to allow a new leader to take over the reins.
‘All local government is under pressure but the county council has faced up to those pressures better than most and is widely admired.
‘I can confidently hand over to my successor a council and county in excellent shape. With the help of MPs and others we successfully rebuffed schemes to break this county into two. I won’t mind being remembered as the man who saved Hampshire as a county.’
Cllr Perry was first elected as a Councillor in June 1970 to represent Chandler’s Ford on Eastleigh Borough Council and other roles he has taken over the years include leader of Test Valley Borough Council, a member of the European Parliament, a county councillor since 2005, and as leader of the county council since 2013.
In the last year he has also served as chairman of South East England Councils (SEEC) and as Conservative vice chairman of the LGA Children and Young People Board.
He will step down formally at the county council’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in May and remain as a backbench councillor representing the Romsey Rural Division until May 2021 before retiring.
He added: ‘I pay tribute to the chief executive and all staff of Hampshire County Council for their exemplary service to the county council, to my deputy leader Keith Mans and cabinet members for their support and their work and to all county councillors regardless of politics.
‘I also acknowledge the wider community and those involved in public life in all its forms who contribute so much to the quality of life in this county and with whom the county council works in constructive partnership.
‘I particularly thank my wife Veronica and family who have supported me over such a long time as I have indulged my passion for democratic service at local, national and international level.’