Trafford’s veteran Labour town hall leader is to step down from the role following his successful election to Parliament to represent Stretford and Urmston as MP.

Andrew Western, who has held the council’s top job since 2018, was successfully elected to replace former MP Kate Green during Thursday’s by-election.

He will remain as ward councillor for Priory ahead of May elections.

Mr Western thanked all his constituents who took the time during this very busy festive period to vote and lay their trust in him to continue the great work of his predecessor.

He said: “I will always look back on my tenure as council leader with great pride and fondness mainly due to the swathe of successes that have been achieved.

“Our response to the Covid pandemic was second to none as we opened safe hubs across the borough for residents to shelter and have access to food and chat with our team members.

“We offered emergency help and support – and during this darkest of times it showed Trafford at its very best.”

Mr Western lavished praise on all his colleagues who faced an avalanche of problems during this period but offered his heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported the borough’s most vulnerable people.

During his time as leader, Mr Western, also spearheaded a raft of policy changes including the hugely successful development of the first social rented housing to be built in Trafford for over a decade.

In his first day in office, he withdrew controversial plans to build a football training ground and new facilities on Turn Moss in Stretford, pledging to open a community-led consultation on the area instead.

His Executive also approved plans to turn William Wroe Golf Course into a town and village green space, solely for community use.

Following on from this, the authority has now applied for Fields in Trust status for the former golf course site in Flixton – and for Turn Moss – meaning both areas could be protected from any future unwanted development.

He added: “It’s also great to see the redevelopment of Stretford taking shape – it will be an incredible place to live, work and relax.  We are already receiving amazing feedback from across the board highlighting Stretford as an up-and-coming destination and it’s just going to get bigger and better.

“The council’s multimillion-pound Leisure Strategy, which is well under way, is also something to be very proud of – as well as the council’s continued work to reduce health inequalities, supporting people out of poverty and addressing the climate crisis.”

Following the result of yesterday’s by-election it is understood Mr Western will resign as Trafford Labour Group Leader.

A special meeting of the Labour Group will shortly take place to select a replacement.

Mr Western will remain leader of Trafford Council until an Extraordinary Meeting of the council is convened, and a new council leader is agreed.