'United' was the word as Tom Ross was confirmed as the Trafford Council leader last night.

The Stretford Ward councillor of more than 14 years and ex-Mayor took over from Andrew Western, who won a by-election to become MP for Stretford and Urmston.

Cllr Ross was nominated as the Trafford Council leader last month, but the nomination was in need of confirmation on January 4.

Cllr Western, still a Priory Ward councillor, led the tributes to his replacement at the town hall.

Messenger Newspapers: Tom RossTom Ross (Image: Trafford Council)

After reflecting on his leadership of the council, 'the privilege of his life', and thanking those who supported him, the latest addition to the House of Commons said: "It is my absolute pleasure to move the motion for Tom Ross to become council leader.

"He was an outstanding mayor and I know he'll be an incredible leader of this local authority."

In a rare occurrence for the council chamber, the motion was supported by both the Conservative Group and the Liberal Democrats.

The exception was the Green Group, whose councillors abstained over the Labour Group record on the climate, clean air and cycling or walking infrastructure.

Messenger Newspapers: The town hallThe town hall (Image: Newsquest)

The abstention drew disapproval from around the council chamber. Cllr David Acton said it was 'wrong', while Cllr Sophie Taylor said it was 'a terrible shame'.

But the motion was passed without their support and Cllr Ross was confirmed as council leader.

On the same day Prime Minister Rishi Sunak set out his priorities for the UK with his speech in East London, the ex-Mayor set out his priorities for Trafford.

These included children, arts and culture, affordable homes and health and social care, as well as what he referred to as 'the basics', from the bins to the roads.

He concluded: "I know there is more that unites us than divides us and that is always something close to my heart."

"It is a real privilege and a huge honour to take on this role. I never thought I would be in this position, but I have to say it brings me joy each and every day. I'll work hard for everyone in this borough as we look forward to the future."

Originally from Timperley, Cllr Ross was educated at Heyes Lane Infant School and Heyes Lane Junior School, then Altrincham Grammar School for Boys.

He was elected to Stretford Ward in 2008, and as Mayor of Trafford in 2018, the youngest ever to take on the role. 

This article was written by Jack Tooth. Jack is the reporter for The Messenger and covers anything and everything from within the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford.

To contact him, email jack.tooth@newsquest.co.uk or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.