Council's deputy leader stands down after twice trying to become MP in Milton Keynes

The deputy leader of MK Council is standing down as a councillor due to family committments.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 11:35 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 11:36 am

Cllr Hannah O’Neill will not be seeking re-election at this week's election.

Hannah, who represents Woughton and Fishermead ward, has stood to be a Member of Parliament for MK South on two occasions.

This week MK Council leader Pete Marland paid tribute to all the hard work she has done.

Cllr Hannah O’Neill

He said: “I’m really sad that Hannah is stepping down. I tried to talk her out of it but she feels it’s the right time. I can’t have asked for a more supportive deputy over the past eight years. It is a huge privilege to have worked with her and I’ve seen first-hand the passion she brings to her role.

"Her work with social care and public health over the past year has been outstanding, and when you look how other councils are going bust and downgrading social care services, the fact Hannah has improved our services and brings them in on budget is a huge reason why MK Council is in such a stable financial position. I’d like to thank her for all her public service and I only wish she could have been our MP.”

Hannah herself said: “It is with a really heavy heart and after much soul searching, I have decided to stand down from MK Council to move on to new things.

“I have not taken the decision lightly. I was in my 20s when I was first elected and I’m a bit older than that now. My life has changed so much and the past year, during the pandemic, has been very, very demanding. It is time to move on and do something new. I have worked hard to do my best in all the roles I’ve done, but the one most dear to me is serving the residents of Woughton and Fishermead, and that’s what I will miss most.”

She added: “I’m still passionate about fairness and I’m sure I will pop up again at some point, it is in my blood. I want to wish Pete and MK Labour well although I’m now looking forward to some evenings simply watching TV.”

Hannah has been Deputy Leader of the Council since 2014 and holds the Adult Health and Wellbeing portfolio, and over the past year has been at the forefront of the council’s efforts to keep people safe leading the Public Health team.

She is respected across party lines for her work tackling issues such as domestic violence and hate crime.

Three other Labour councillors are also standing down. These are former Cabinet member Martin Gowans (B East), Charlie Wilson-Marklew (Stony), Paul Williams (CMK) and Norman Miles (Wolverton).