The government has announced that the leader of Stevenage Borough Council, Sharon Taylor, is to become a peer with the right to sit in the House of Lords.

She will stand down as leader of the council at the end of this year, but will remain a councillor in Stevenage until the local elections in 2024.

Cllr Taylor was nominated by Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour party, and will sit as a Labour peer.

She is one of 26 people to be awarded a peerage in the latest list. The government announcement stated that “the King has been graciously pleased to signify His intention of conferring the following Peerages of the United Kingdom for Life.”

Cllr Taylor has been a borough councillor representing Symonds Green ward since 1997, and a county councillor representing Bedwell ward since 2009.

In 2006, she became leader of the council and in 2013 she was awarded an OBE for services to local government.

She was also Labour’s candidate for the Stevenage constituency in the 2010 and 2015 general elections, finishing second behind Stephen McPartland on both occasions.

A Stevenage Borough Council spokesperson said: “We offer our warmest congratulations to Cllr Sharon Taylor OBE, who has been nominated to sit as a peer in the House of Lords.

“This is a fantastic achievement and testament to the dedication she has shown in supporting the community, town and council over many years and her great determination to improve opportunities for the people of Stevenage.

“Cllr Taylor has served the community since her election as local councillor in 1997, and as the Leader of the Council for the last 16 years.

“Alongside her council duties, she has played a leading role in local community and voluntary groups in Stevenage including a local education charity, tackling domestic abuse and as a food bank volunteer.

“She has made significant contributions to local government across the country, taking leading roles in the Local Government Association, Chairing the Cooperative Councils Innovation Network and the District Councils Network.

“As a County Councillor and a member of Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership Board, she has worked to support business growth opportunities for Stevenage and Hertfordshire.

“We wish Cllr Taylor every success as she represents the community and wider local government sector in her new role.”

Jim Callaghan, chair of the Stevenage Constituency Labour Party, said: “This appointment is thoroughly deserved and recognises the enormous contribution Sharon has made to our town.

“She has devoted the last 25 years to improving the lives of all our residents and her elevation to the Lords is a fitting tribute to her hard work and commitment.

“As a local party we are immensely proud that she will continue to fight for social justice, equal opportunities and a fairer economy on a far bigger stage.

“We wish her all the very best and look forward to continuing to support her in her future role."

In a public status on her Facebook profile, Cllr Taylor wrote: "I am overwhelmed to have been asked by Keir Starmer to take on the role of being a working Peer in the House of Lords.

"This is the greatest honour of my life and I have accepted with humility, gratitude and great excitement at being asked to continue to represent the Labour Party and Stevenage in such a special way.

"Many of you will know that Stevenage is my home town and I am immensely proud of what our incredible Labour team have achieved here.

"I will shortly step down from my role as Leader of the Council to focus on this exciting new challenge but I do so with enormous thanks to all our members, officers and partners for their commitment, for sharing my passion for our place and for their friendship and support.

"I also have absolute confidence that our Labour team will continue to work for the bright future we all know Stevenage deserves.

"I look forward to continuing the fight for social justice, a fairer and greener future and an economy that works for everyone, from the historic red benches. It is an extraordinary opportunity for me and an exciting new way to serve our community and the Labour Party."