Stevenage Labour has elected its new group leader, who will take over from Baroness Sharon Taylor in the new year. 

Councillor Richard Henry, who represents St Nicholas ward and has served on the council for almost 28 years, will be Stevenage Borough Council's new leader. 

He will take on the role when Baroness Sharon Taylor of Stevenage steps down from the post after becoming a peer in the House of Lords earlier in 2022.

As leader of the largest political party group on Stevenage Borough Council – with 23 Labour councillors against nine Conservatives and six Liberal Democrats – Cllr Henry is due to become leader of the authority from January 2023.

A Labour spokesperson said: “Cllr Henry will make a brilliant leader. He has got a lot of experience in Stevenage, at the Local Government Association and in campaigns at a national level.

“Richard Henry has big shoes to fill, following Baroness Taylor of Stevenage who has spent her life working very hard for Stevenage.”

Cllr Henry joined Stevenage Borough Council in May 1995 and has remained in post for more than 27 years.

He represents the St Nicholas ward alongside his Labour colleagues Cllrs Sandra Barr and Claire Parris.

Baroness Taylor of Stevenage wished Cllr Henry congratulations on social media.

In a statement, she said: “Delighted to see my good friend Richard Henry elected as leader of the Labour Group at Stevenage when I step down at the end of December.

“Huge congratulations Richard, you will be an amazing leader.”

Cllr Richard Roberts, leader of Hertfordshire County Council, praised Baroness Taylor for her commitment to Stevenage since she became a councillor in 1999.

He said: “Sharon has made an enormous contribution to the regeneration of Stevenage, its residents and its businesses, which is driving change not only in the town but across the rest of Hertfordshire.

“The biosciences and Gunnels Wood developments are very exciting with the opportunities that they bring for people in Hertfordshire, and Baroness Taylor has championed these businesses – from aerospace to bespoke medicines.

“I am delighted she has been elevated up to the Lords.

“We have worked closely together at county council and in Stevenage for many years and that will continue under Richard Henry.

“I want to take this opportunity to welcome Cllr Henry to the role and we will look to the future of Hertfordshire together.”