The leader of Southwark Council has stepped down after ten years. 

A new council leader is expected to replace Councillor Peter John on March 25.  

Cllr John received a standing ovation after his announcement during a council assembly meeting on Wednesday (February 26), during which he said he was “incredibly proud” of a “decade of delivery”.  

He said: “I have concluded in recent times that it’s time for me to move on and let a new generation lead this council in the next decade.  

“Tonight I’m announcing that I will resign as council leader on March 25.  

“A new council leader will be elected on that date and it’s a new council leader who I’m sure will take this administration to even greater heights and make Southwark an even greater borough than it is already.” 

It is not known yet who will replace him.  

Cllr John spent ten years as leader of the council and 16 years as leader of Southwark Labour Group.  

In a letter circulated on Wednesday, Cllr John said: “It has been a great privilege to lead the council over this period, in what has been an extraordinary decade of delivery. 

“When I became council leader in 2010 I was determined that no resident should be left behind, and that everybody – whatever your age or background – should be able to benefit and take advantage of the changes and opportunities we were determined to create.   

“I also said that Southwark was ‘open for business’, and in spite of unprecedented cuts to our budget by government and tough economic circumstances we have managed to deliver positive growth and change across the borough – with major investment in every community.   

“From Blackfriars to Canada Water; Peckham to Elephant and Castle; Bermondsey to Old Kent Road; and London Bridge to Camberwell, that investment has brought 15,000 new homes; over 40,000 new jobs; over 5,000 new apprenticeships which we have helped to create as a council, and millions of square feet of new office and leisure space. 

“At the same time we have been able to deliver flagship policies with the introduction of Free Healthy School Meals for all primary school children; free swim and gym use for all residents; scholarships paying the university tuition fees for over 100 young people from low income backgrounds; pioneering the London Living Wage and the Ethical Care Charter; our commitment to meet the needs of 100 per cent of children and young people with a mental health challenge; our ongoing support for widening the opportunities to enjoy culture and the arts and our work putting public health and social regeneration at the heart of all that we do as a council.   

“The schools in our borough regularly outperform the London and National averages, and our voluntary sector is thriving. 

“The past decade has seen us face huge challenges as a council – from riots to floods to terror attacks.   

“These events have scarred individuals and communities, but they have also demonstrated the amazing resilience and support we have been able to offer each other as residents of Southwark. 

“Our decade of delivery would not have been possible without the support of fellow councillors, an amazing team of officers, and friends and partners right across Southwark and London.   

“I have always believed that we work best as a team, and that together we share responsibility for our successes and any failure.   

“Thank you for your part in helping to make Southwark such a borough of hope and opportunity. 

“Since 2010 we have also kept winning more council seats at each of the local elections.   

“I firmly believe that our commitment to deliver a fairer future for all our residents has been the right formula – demonstrating that a bold and well-run council informed by our values and aspirational for our communities and residents is politically popular.” 

Cllr John’s deputy chair of London Councils, Camden Cllr Georgia Gould, will be acting as chair until the annual general meeting in June.