Portsmouth Labour leader Stephen Morgan to step down as councillor at the next election
PORTSMOUTH’S Labour Party leader has announced he will step down as a councillor at the next batch of local elections in May.
Stephen Morgan, who is also the MP for Portsmouth South, has represented the Charles Dickens ward in the city centre since May 5, 2016.
The shadow minister for defence procurement defended his decision to stay on Portsmouth City Council after becoming an MP on June 9, 2017.
He said the move was an act of commitment to Charles Dickens residents, whom he has vowed to continue fighting for in Parliament.
Mr Morgan described his term as a councillor ‘one of the greatest honours' of his life.
‘If you go into public service I believe you should always see it through,' he said.
‘That is why I wanted to serve the full term as a ward councillor and do my best for all residents, at all times, even with the privilege of being elected as their MP.
‘As my term of office ends, I have not sought re-selection on the council as a local councillor.’
Portsmouth activist Kirsty Mellor has been named the contender for Mr Morgan’s place when a third of city seats go up for election on May 7.
The campaigner said: ‘I am proud to have the opportunity to continue the exceptional work Stephen has done in our ward and for Portsmouth.
‘He’s been a brilliant councillor who has always carried out his duties inspirationally.’
She added: ‘I will always speak up for the vulnerable in society, always putting others’ interests before my own and make sure the residents of Charles Dickens have their voice heard.’
Mr Morgan said he was 'delighted’ at Ms Mellor's selection as a candidate.
He added: ‘As a local resident, Kirsty’s passionate defence of domestic abuse services and dedication to fighting welfare cuts, means she’s well placed to carry on the campaign work I’ve been doing to improve life chances for all residents in this special part of Portsmouth.’
Mr Morgan is also the Labour spokesperson for culture and city development on Portsmouth City Council.
Charles Dickens residents are also represented by Labour councillor Cal Corkery, whose term ends in 2023, and Progressive Portsmouth People Group councillor, Claire Udy, whose term ends in 2022.