A NEW council leader has been chosen after an election by the city's Conservatives.

Jeremy Nettle, who represents Fisherton and Bemerton Village, was successful in his bid for leadership after going up against the former deputy leader, Cllr Jo Broom at a closed meeting on Tuesday night.

Cllr Nettle, who has lived in Salisbury for 34 years, has spent 16 years as a councillor and previously represented St Marks and Stratford and St Francis. He also served as mayor from 2004 to 2005 and has led the Conservative group in the past.

He said being chosen as the new Salisbury City Council leader was "a great honour" and said he saw "a very bright vision for Salisbury" in the future.

Cllr Nettle said the past 18 months had seen a lot of "bad feeling" towards the council, after a controversial decision to move Salisbury's information centre, and the nerve agent attack in the city.

"I feel that first of all, we need unity within the council, across all political groups," he added, and said he had previously had a good relationship with the city's Labour and Lib Dem councillors and was "hopeful that will continue".

After the result was announced, Cllr Broom (who has acted as interim leader since Cllr Matthew Dean resigned from the party last month) also stepped down from her role as deputy leader, and told the Journal she was "disappointed" with the result.

"I don't feel that this decision is in the best interests of the council or the people of Salisbury," Cllr Broom added, and said Cllr Nettle is unable to take up the role until the end of February, due to personal issues.

"I felt that, not having had the support of the group, it was not right that they should still expect me to carry on as interim when the new leader is not available for a long period of time," she said.

And she said Cllr Nettle's previous attendance records "don't read particularly well" - but the last figures available showed he missed just one meeting in 2017.

Cllr Nettle said the group had been made "fully aware of [his] availability before any decision was made".

And he said he was "sad to see" Cllr Broom step down as deputy, adding: "I highly appreciate all that she has contributed to the council over the past years."

The next deputy leader will be chosen by vote at a future meeting of the Conservative group.