The new leader of Watford Borough Council's Liberal Democrat group has paid tribute to the contribution of Cllr Iain Sharpe, who has stepped down after 22 years.

Cllr Peter Taylor said he was "delighted" to have been chosen to lead the party in Watford, and thanked his predecessor.

He told the Watford Observer: “I’ll work closely with Dorothy as our Mayor to ensure our town continues to move in the right direction, and I’ll work closely with communities across Watford to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.

“Cllr Iain Sharpe’s 22 years of service as group leader saw the Liberal Democrats go from strength to strength in the Town Hall – winning the Mayoralty and gaining council seats across the town.

"This year’s successful results are testament to Iain’s leadership ability and political judgement.

"He’ll be a tough act to follow but I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue his hard work.”

The Liberal Democrats triumphed in the battle for control of Watford in the recent local elections, seizing seven seats to maintain their grip on the borough council.

The party now holds 25 of the 36 seats.

Cllr Taylor was chosen for the new role at a meeting of Liberal Democrat Councillors after Cllr Iain Sharpe stood down after 22 years as the group’s leader.

Cllr Taylor, 36, has represented Oxhey ward since 2012.

He is a qualified schoolteacher and taught for several years at a Sixth Form College in Harrow and at a Saturday school at the London School of Economics.

He is now the education adviser for the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales.

Cllr Taylor will also take up the position of Deputy Mayor.

Elected Mayor Dorothy Thornhill said: “I know Peter well and he will make an excellent leader of our group in the Town Hall.

"Peter is ambitious for Watford and he will bring vision, dedication and enthusiasm to the role.

"I’m looking forward to working with Peter to deliver real improvements for Watford throughout the rest of my mayoral term.”

Cllr Keith Crout will serve as Cllr Taylor’s deputy.