Wolverhampton Council leader to stand down after 15 years
The leader of Wolverhampton City Council has said he plans to step down after 15 years in the role.
Councillor Roger Lawrence was first elected as a councillor in 1983 before later taking up the leadership.
He said he would not be putting his name forward in the leadership elections in May, but would serve as a ward councillor for another year.
Mr Lawrence said it was the "right time" to make way for fresh leadership given future challenges.
He led the council from 2002 to 2008 and has been in charge since 2011.
Mr Lawrence said: "Brexit uncertainty, further cuts to public services, wider political, social and economic changes - they're all long-term issues and I feel the time is right for new thinking, energy and focus and a longer-term commitment that I am unable to make.
"These challenges are not insurmountable, but they do mean that the council and the city need to continue to pull together, as one, to overcome them.
"I firmly believe that this place and its fantastic people have a bright future and I look forward to seeing our city go from strength to strength under new leadership."
The council said Mr Lawrence had "steered the council through one of its most challenging periods" after the 2007 financial crisis, which had subsequently seen its funding halved by £220 million since 2009.
It said he was also a "driving force" behind the West Midlands Combined Authority.