THE Liberal Democrat Pary on Surrey County Council have appointed Chris Botten as group leader following the retirement of Dorking’s Hazel Watson from the leadership.

Mr Botten, who has represented Caterham Hill division since 2017, said: “Hazel has worked incredibly hard over many years and I will be looking to build on her strong legacy working at Kingston, the county council’s HQ.

“It is fitting that her 25 years as a county councillor will be celebrated at next week’s full council AGM.

“I am looking forward to this new role and the challenges it will bring.

“Having led the opposition on Tandridge District Council for 10 years, I will offer a robust and detailed challenge to the Conservative administration at County Hall.

“We will air residents’ concerns and champion their cause as the very severe cuts to come will bite into essential services for children and the vulnerable.”

Councillor Watson will continue to represent the residents of Dorking Hills on the council, having represented the area for the last 25 years.

“I congratulate Chris on taking over the leadership of the Liberal Democrats at County Hall and look forward to supporting him in his new role,” she said.