THE leader of Stroud District Council has resigned.

Cllr Doina Cornell, who has been leader of the council since January 2018, said she is putting the interests of her community first without having to answer to the ‘Westminster bubble’.

This comes weeks after she was removed from the longlist in the running to be the next candidate for the party for the Stroud constituency.

Ms Cornell formally resigned as council leader yesterday lunchtime (21 July), saying she was proud to have served the district for over four years.

Cllr Catherine Braun (Green, Wotton-under-Edge) has been appointed Leader of Stroud District Council, and Cllr Natalie Bennett (Labour, Nailsworth) has been appointed Deputy Leader.

In her resignation speech, she said: “We are in total support of the Leader and Deputy Leader that the Council has elected and we are strongly aligned with the progressive values of the current administration and the delivery of the council plan."

“I have been proud to put the interests of the people of this district first, as well as the beautiful landscape within which we live. I submitted my resignation as council leader this afternoon.

“I am now standing as an independent councillor and will put the interests of my community first without having to answer to the Westminster bubble. 

“This resignation is a consequence of my leaving the Labour Party after ten years membership, I have written elsewhere my reasons for doing so. 

“Suffice to say the central leadership of the Party is governed by a narrow factionalism and does not trust its local members to choose who is best to fight and win a parliamentary election.”

“I remain a member of the Cooperative Party and a proud member of Unite the Union who fights every day for working people. 

“I love the town of Dursley that I represent and I am grateful to all the local residents who have contacted me in support in the last few weeks.

“I will for once take personal credit for what I have achieved in these four years of leading the council, especially in what has always been a top priority for me, in putting core values at the heart of everything we do - environmental justice, health and wellbeing, and equality.”

Ms Cornell also praised council officers in her resignation speech, particularly the CEO of Stroud District Council, Kathy O'Leary. 

“We worked all hours of the day to keep our communities safe and supported and I believe we helped save lives and ensure our district recovered more quickly from the pandemic. 

“Being a leader can sometimes be a lonely and stressful job and you have always been there for me, I hope I am allowed to say, more than just an exceptional colleague, you are a very good friend."

Doina ended her speech with the following statement: “Local grassroots politics matters today more than ever.  But we representatives are elected to serve the people, not to rule them, and we should never take that for granted.”

Cllr Doina Cornell, as well as SDC vice chair Cllr Trevor Hall, Cllr Robin Drury-Layfield, and Cllr Colin Fryer, all resigned from the Labour Party just a few weeks ago.

Stroud District Community Independents are a non-politically-aligned group that is wholly focused on community-driven policy & action.

Mr Layfield said: "We are now ready to get on with the work at hand - there is so much for us to do and we are keen to continue making a positive contribution to the Council and to the District."