DUDLEY’S Labour Group has chosen council stalwart Pete Lowe to be their leader once again.

Councillor Lowe, who represents Lye and Stourbridge North and was formerly leader of Dudley Council, has now taken over the reigns as the local Labour group leader.

The long-serving councillor topped the poll among colleagues when a ballot was held among Labour councillors at Dudley Council House on Thursday September 14.

The vote followed an announcement by Councillor Qadar Zada that he would be stepping down as leader.

Cllr Zada will continue to represent Netherton, Woodside and St Andrews ward as a Labour Party councillor until the end of his term in office next May.

Cllr Lowe said of his selection: “I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor, Qadar Zada, who has served with integrity and distinction throughout his time as leader. We will have the benefit of his passion and experience for some time yet and I am grateful to have his full support moving forward.

“I am thrilled to be leading an energised Dudley Labour Group, buoyed by our recent election victory in St James’s, which is ready to restore decency and professionalism to public life in our borough.

“Dudley has a proud history as a powerhouse of the industrial revolution and the capital of the Black Country.

“When I led Dudley Council previously, I championed the use of the Black Country flag and the annual celebration of our region on July 14. I will lead a team that will build on this record and shine a light on our heritage. Looking to the future we will seek to provide public services which are fit for purpose and delivered sustainably.”

Cllr Lowe was leader of Dudley Council from December 2014 until May 2017, before resuming the role in September 2018 but he stepped down from the top job towards the end of 2018 when he was succeeded by Cllr Zada.

But now back in charge once again, Cllr Lowe will be getting set to lead his party into the next round of local elections on Thursday May 2, 2024, which will see every council seat in the Dudley borough up for grabs.

The all-out elections will be fought on revised boundaries after a review of electoral ward boundaries in Dudley which closed on Monday September 11.

Cllr Zada said of his decision to step down that he could no longer “stretch the patience” of loved ones or compromise on the quality of leadership he wanted to give.

He said: “Whilst I have loved every minute of serving our community, it is entirely fair to say that doing so whilst holding down a challenging full-time job has not always been easy and it has been at the expense of taking time away from loved ones to do something I love.”

He said he had decided to step down as his work was taking him away for longer periods and he added: “For the time being this is for the benefit of myself, my family and the residents I represent. I look forward to returning to front line politics when my personal circumstances allow.

“I admire deeply my Labour group colleagues who have worked with me so hard to gain the trust of our residents and I look forward to working with the new leader as we continue this journey and will continue to serve my local community with the same dedication.”