The leader of the opposition in Southwark has stepped down after ten and a half months due to “growing work and professional commitments”.  

Liberal Democrat Councillor Nick Johnson became leader in June of last year when Cllr Anood Al-Samerai stepped down after a decade.  

The group announced on Monday (April 26) that North Bermondsey ward Cllr Hamish McCallum will replace Cllr Johnson.  

Cllr McCallum, a trained lawyer who has worked with victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, has been chief whip for the Southwark Lib Dem group for three years.  

He said in a statement: “I am delighted to take up the role of leader of the Southwark Liberal Democrat council group.  

“This is a critical time for our borough and our residents - as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic, tackle climate change and respond to the impact of Brexit. 

“Labour is letting Southwark down. Since 2010, Labour have sold or demolished 3,000 council homes, while the housing waiting list has grown to 15,000.  

“And they have cut down over 5,500 trees while continuing to invest in gas fired boilers for estates. 

“I look forward to putting forward a bold, ambitious and liberal vision in response to those challenges. 

“I believe that our community must be at the heart of everything the council does and I will work with my excellent Liberal Democrat colleagues to continue holding Labour to account in the town hall and across Southwark.” 

Cllr Johnson said it has been a “genuine privilege” to serve as leader of the opposition and Lib Dem group.  

“Due to expanded work and professional commitments I’ve taken the reluctant decision to step down, I am however confident that the future leader will continue to hold the Labour administration to account and they will have my full support,” he said.