THE head of the Tory group on Newport council says he is to stand down as leader in April after it was confirmed he would be the next mayor of Newport.

Allt-yr-Yn councillor Matthew Evans, leader of the opposition, will take over as mayor from Caerleon Labour councillor Cliff Suller next May after he was nominated as mayor elect for 2014/15 at the last council meeting.

Cllr Evans said he wouldn’t be able to do the two roles but said he’d like to return to the helm of the Newport council Tory group after his stint as Mayor.

Senior Tory Cllr David Fouweather, also of Allt-yr-Yn ward, has said that he would be putting his name forward for the role of leader.

“It’s truly a great honour,” said Cllr Evans, aged 50. “And I’m looking forward very much to the year ahead and the opportunities to meet numerous people from businesses to charity workers”.

Cllr Evans said he has asked Langstone Conservative councillor David Atwell to be his deputy mayor.

He said he was looking at what charities to support, saying he would try to visit a couple of those who had already been in touch with him to make his mind up over the next few weeks.

Cllr Evans added that he couldn’t be Tory group leader and mayor at the same time.

“Obviously I can’t do the two roles,” he said. “I will stand down as leader of the opposition at our annual general meeting in April.”

He said he would like to return to the position but added: “We are a democratic party and that will be up to the group to decide if they want me back.”

The decision will be down to a secret ballot of Tory councillors, he said, and it was not up to him to recommend anybody. Newport mayors are chosen through a system of seniority, with the longest serving councillor who hasn’t been mayor taking up the position.