THE Independent Group on Cheshire East Council has today elected Wilmslow councillor Michael Gorman as its new leader.

His appointment follows the resignation of Cllr Craig Browne (Alderley Edge) who will be stepping down later this month to take up a new post as chief executive at Citizens Advice North Staffordshire.

Cllr Gorman, who was elected to Cheshire East Council in May of last year, represents Wilmslow West & Chorley.

He is now the Independent Group’s nominee for the position of deputy leader of Cheshire East Council.

Northwich Guardian: Cllr Michael GormanCllr Michael Gorman (Image: Cheshire East Council)Following his election as group leader, Cllr Gorman said: “I am delighted and honoured that the group has chosen me as leader.

“I am passionate about independent politics, but also keen to encourage cross-party collaboration wherever possible.

“These are very difficult times for the local government sector and it is essential that we protect local services as much as possible, whilst avoiding the threat of a Section 114 notice.”

Macclesfield councillor Mick Warren is the group’s new deputy leader.

Northwich Guardian: Cllr Mick WarrenCllr Mick Warren (Image: Cheshire East Council)Cllr Warren said: “I have been an elected member since May 2015 and have gained experience, first in opposition and latterly as chair of the environment and communities committee.

“Previously I served in HM forces and as a police officer and look forward to using my experience to support Cllr Gorman in his new role, as well as in helping to support the development of other members of the Independent group.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Cllr Craig Browne for his work in leading the group over the last five years, in particular in bringing stability to both the group and the council.”

Northwich Guardian: Cllr Craig BrowneCllr Craig Browne (Image: Cheshire East Council)

Cllr Browne, who will step down as group leader and deputy council leader at the next full council meeting on February 27, said: “I would like to offer my congratulations to Cllr Gorman and Cllr Warren and assure them of my support going forwards.

“Although I am stepping down to take up a new challenge, I will be continuing as ward councillor for Alderley Edge and as an active member of the Independent Group.

“I am delighted that the group is in safe hands and I am sure it will continue to prosper over the course of the next few years.”