LONG-serving Labour councillor David Pidduck has lost the leadership of Barrow Borough Council after 12 years in the role.

Cllr Pidduck was defeated in a ballot of Labour councillors after a challenge from fellow long-standing councillor Ann Thomson, chairwoman of the planning committee.

The changes will be formally ratified at the council’s annual meeting in the town hall on Monday.

Cllr Pidduck, aged 75, has been a councillor since 1996 and served a spell as mayor between 2002-03.

He told The Mail he would remain a committed ward councillor for Hindpool but would now serve from the back benches.

He said he was “disappointed” but accepted that leadership challenges are part of the role in politics.

He said: “If you take on the role of leader, at the back of your mind you’re always aware you might be challenged. It goes with the territory that someone could always come along and think you’re not doing something properly or that they are more suitable.”

Asked if he was “relaxed” about no longer being leader, Cllr Pidduck said that was not the word he would use.

He said “perseverance” in the face of financial cutbacks under the Conservatives was the word he would use to define his time as leader.

“Unfortunately, I have led the council at a time when we saw the worst attack by central Government on Barrow ever.”

He said he was disappointed that there were projects that he had wanted to see through to the end, including the partnership work with neighbouring South Lakeland District Council and Lancaster City Council, which have joined forces to promote the Bay economy.

As well as heading the council’s Labour Group, Cllr Pidduck was the official spokesman for economic development and regeneration.

Cllr Pidduck is a former welding lecturer and served an apprenticeship at Barrow shipyard.

A supporter of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the pair have differed over defence. Labour held power at the council following this month’s local elections but its majority reduced after three gains by the Conservatives.

The 36-seat chamber now consists of 24 Labour councillors to 12 Tories.