FORMER police inspector David Jones is set to become the new leader of Bury Council.

Cllr Jones will take over the top job from Cllr Rishi Shori, who is stepping down after three years in the role.

Labour councillors voted to appoint Cllr Jones as the new leader of the group at a meeting last night.

He will need the votes of a majority of councillors at a full council meeting tomorrow night when he is due to be appointed as council leader.

He said: "I’m very much looking forward to playing my part in continuing to ensure that Bury is great place in which to live, work and study.”

Cllr Jones has represented Unsworth ward since 2012, and was chair of the licensing committee for six years.

Before being elected he worked for the council as head of the Community Safety Team between 2006 and 2010.

Prior to that he served with Greater Manchester Police, where he was an inspector for more than 20 years before retiring as the officer in charge at Whitefield Police Station.

He oversaw many different areas of police work; from undercover units to licensing enforcement, the drugs squad and community policing.

He said: “Working at senior strategic level has given me a huge amount of experience in making difficult decisions quickly and under pressure.

“It has also been vital in understanding the importance of working with partners and team-building, which these days is so important – whether that’s working with the NHS to create joined-up health and social care, with businesses to bring prosperity to the borough, and with education providers to ensure our young people have the right skills to set them up for life.”

Cllr Jones is married and has two children and three grandchildren.

He said: “After nearly a decade of austerity, I am determined to ensure that our budget goes as far as it can and I will be making the case to government for fair funding to help our schools, adult care and police locally."

Outgoing council leader Rishi Shori welcomed Cllr Jones to the new role.

He said: "David has a wealth of experience he can draw upon to lead our borough through challenging times and help it continue to grow and prosper. I wish him the very best as our new leader.”

Opposition leaders have wished Cllr Jones well in his new role but have warned of a turbulent time ahead at the town hall.

Conservative leader James Daly said: “I sincerely hope that Cllr Jones has the vision and strength of character required to make the tough decisions needed to address years of financial mismanagement.

"There is a very real risk of Bury MBC going bankrupt over the next few years as the council continues to use its reserves to cover black holes in the budget. The years of inaction and excuses must come to an end and the Borough needs a Leader who can rise to these challenges.

"I therefore wish Cllr Jones well and hope he will deliver for local residents, however as one of Councillor Shori’s key lieutenants I fear it will be just more of the same incompetence which has caused this mess in the first place.”

Lib Dem leader Tim Pickstone also wished Cllr Jones well in his new role.

He said: "I’d like to wish Cllr Jones good luck as Bury’s council leader. With falling standards in our schools and the need to balance already overstretched budgets, he’s going to need it. Cllr Jones will face a once in a lifetime decision about the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework plans to destroy so much of Bury’s green belt land. Let’s hope he makes the right decision and protects our countryside for future generations."

The Bury Times understands that Cllr Stella Smith also put herself forward to become Labour leader at Monday's meeting.