BINGLEY Rural councillor Simon Cooke has announced he is stepping down as Tory group leader on Bradford Council.

Addressing a group meeting, he said he would be relinquishing the post after the elections in May this year.

"Some while ago I decided that I wouldn’t be standing for re-election when my current term as councillor finishes in 2019," he added.

"I think it would be wrong to stay on as leader running up to an election in which I’m not standing.

“In May 2019 I will have been a councillor for 24 years and, for me, that’s long enough.

"It’s not that I don’t enjoy it but rather that it’s probably best to stop while that’s the case. I also think that a new leader would inject some extra drive.

"I wrote a little list of things that needed to happen for the group and the party in Bradford and, having looked at the list, concluded by saying to myself: 'Simon, this stuff is important but do you really want to do these things?'."