The MK Labour Party have confirmed that MK Council’s Deputy Leader Cllr Hannah O’Neill will be standing down after the upcoming Council elections.

Thursday’s election (06/05) will see a few members of the council depart, and one is Cllr O’Neill, who has been the council’s Deputy Leader since 2014.

She has represented the Woughton area since 2008 and the Woughton & Fishermead ward since 2014. As well as this, Cllr O’Nell held 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 by leading the Public Health team.

She has also twice run to represent MK South in parliament and has been respected across party lines for her work tackling issues such as domestic violence and hate crime. 

Other Labour councillors such as former Cabinet member Martin Gowans (B East), Charlie Wilson-Marklew (Stony), Paul Williams (CMK) and Norman Miles (Wolverton) will also be standing down.

Another face standing down is Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Douglas McCall, who announced in March he would not seek re-election.

In a statement, Cllr O’Neill 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 & Fishermead, and that’s what I will miss most.

“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.”

Cllr Peter Marland, Labour Leader of Milton Keynes Council, paid his own tribute to his colleague.

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 8 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.”