GALLERY: Shock announcement by Cambs council leader to step down for personal reasons

COUNTY council leader Jill Tuck announced today she is to step down from her �22,000 a year role in May for personal reasons.

Her decision comes just three days after she successfully delivered a budget which paves the way for �161 million worth of cuts.

“This is one of the hardest political decisions I have ever had to take,” said Cllr Tuck.

“Due to family circumstances, it has become increasingly challenging for me to give the very significant time necessary to offer the leadership the county requires and deserves.

“We have just delivered the most difficult budget in the county council’s history.

“It was a process I was determined to see through. I will continue to give 100% support for the implementation of the plan the council agreed for the next five years

Cllr Tuck will have been leader of Cambridgeshire County Council for three years in May when she will step down as Conservative group leader and, de facto, as leader of the council.

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Among those likely to be in the running to succeed her will be her deputy, Councillor Mac McGuire, but whoever is chosen Cllr Tuck says she will provide “ all the help I can offer before they take up office and afterwards”.

“It has also been wonderful to work closely as council leader with the talented and dedicated people the council employs. Even as we’ve had to address massive financial challenges they have maintained their complete commitment to doing their best for the county’s residents - young and old.”

“It has been an honour to lead the council, and a privilege to serve Cambridgeshire and all its communities”

She was first elected to the county council in 1993 having taken up local politics in 1991 when she became a Fenland district councillor.

Cllr Tuck, who lives in Wimblington near March, succeeded Councillor Keith Walters who had provided temporary leadership of the authority following the resignation as leader of Councillor Shona Johnstone.

At Shire Hall, Cllr Tuck had Cabinet responsibility for children and young people’s services prior to becoming police and had served on Cambridgeshire Police Authority.

Cllr McGuire, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Jill puts residents at the heart of all we do and the council’s continuing record of achievements in some very difficult and uncertain financial times is a credit to her leadership.

“She has taken this council forward and it is a mark of her dedication to Cambridgeshire that she has led from the front and seen through the most challenging budget we have ever had to set.

“Her determination to deliver the bests services the council can is only equalled by her compassion for her family and it is perfectly understandable her decision to spend more time with them at this time and our thoughts are with her.”

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Martin Curtis, Cabinet Member for Children said: “Anybody that has worked with Jill will acknowledge her determination to do the right thing by Cambridgeshire and its communities.

“In Fenland, for example, she was rigorous in her pursuit of the Building Schools for the future project and was at the heart of the negotiations to secure funding for the College of West Anglia project which will see better opportunities for our youngsters and improved access to our services.

“There is no doubt that Jill stepping down will be a loss to Cambridgeshire.”