THE leader of Newport City Council Debbie Wilcox has been created a life peer in former Prime Minister Theresa May’s resignation honours list.

Baroness Wilcox, who is also the Leader of the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to education and local government.

Lady Wilcox was nominated by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, along with two other new Labour life peers - ex-National Union of Teachers general secretary Christine Blower, and the employment rights lawyer John Hendy QC.

She's been the leader of the WLGA since June 2016, where she also serves as spokesperson for Education, and she is also Wales’ Regional Representative on the LGA Executive and the Cardiff Capital Region Cabinet Member for Skills.

Having held the role of Leader of Newport City Council since May 2016, she has continually represented the city’s Gaer ward since being first elected to the authority in 2004.

Prior to her taking office in Newport, Baroness Wilcox worked as a senior examiner and was a teacher for over 35 years, which led her to take a particularly active interest in education during her career as a councillor.

Newport City Council Chief Executive Will Godfrey said: "On behalf of the council, I would like to congratulate the new Baroness Wilcox of Newport on this well-served recognition for her many achievements in local government.

“She has given many years of dedicated public service, first as a teacher and, since 2004, combining that important role with representing the Gaer ward as a city councillor. She served as a cabinet member from 2012 before being elected as the first female leader of the council in 2016.

“In June 2017, Councillor Wilcox became the first female leader of the Welsh Local Government Association and represents Wales as a member of the Local Government Association Executive.

“She is a fantastic ambassador for Newport and Wales, making sure their voices are heard at all levels, and I am sure she will continue doing that in her role as a member of the House of Lords.”

Councillor Andrew Morgan (Rhondda Cynon Taf), WLGA Presiding Officer said:“This is fantastic news for Debbie personally and on behalf of everybody in local government. Debbie has spent a lifetime in public service - as a teacher, as a councillor and most recently as leader of Newport City Council and the WLGA.

“This much-deserved honour is recognition of her commitment and considerable contribution. Since she first took the helm at the WLGA, Debbie has worked tirelessly to champion local democracy and promote local government at every possible opportunity.

“She’s a great communicator and is vociferous in her defence of local democracy and accountability, which I’m sure she will continue to actively advocate upon taking her seat in the House of Lords.”

Baroness Wilcox has also recieved messages of support on social media from the First Minister Mark Drakeford and the former First Minster Carwyn Jones.

Jessica Morden, MP for Newport East said: "Congratulations to Debbie, another Newport voice in Parliament and I know she will draw on her experience in local government to make a difference."

Councillor Matthew Evans also paid tribute to Baroness Wilcox's recognition, saying: "I would like to congratulate Debbie on what is truly a great honour. I know she has worked tirelessly for Welsh Local Government over a difficult period and I wish her every success in the House of Lords."

Newport's two AMs also issued their congratulations. John Griffiths, AM for Newport East, said: "I’d like to offer my congratulations to Council Leader Debbie Wilcox.

"Debbie has been awarded a lifelong peerage which is recognition of her role and achievements at Newport City Council and the WLGA. Debbie is passionate about tackling inequality and it will be good to have her in the House of Lords to represent and champion the interests of Newport.

"I wish her all the best in her new role.”

Jayne Bryant, AM for Newport West, said: "Many congratulations to Debbie on her appointment to the House of Lords.

"I’m sure she will be as active and vocal in Parliament as she has been as a Councillor in Newport. She has campaigned consistently for LGBT rights and equality for years and she was the first woman Leader of Newport City Council and the Welsh Local Government Association.

"Her experience will be an asset."

Ruth Jones MP for Newport West said: “I would like to congratulate my friend and colleague on her elevation to the House of Lords. Debbie has worked tirelessly for Newport in her role as leader and as the female leader of the WLGA. She is blazing a trail and is a great role model for us all.”

--Theresa May's resignation list: Who else was honoured?

The former Prime Minister recognised key political aides as well as her sporting hero Geoffrey Boycott in her honours list.

The former prime minister's chief EU negotiator Olly Robbins - blamed by many Tory MPs for her three times rejected Brexit deal - receives a knighthood.

Her controversial former joint chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill - who were forced to quit No 10 in the wake of the 2017 general election debacle - are made CBEs.

Boycott, along with former England cricket captain Andrew Strauss, both receive knighthoods for services to sport.

In other appointments, Sir Kim Darroch, who was forced to resign as ambassador to the United States after falling out with the Trump administration, is made a life peer. He will sit as a non-party crossbencher.

Tory Party treasurer Ehud Sheleg, who has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to Conservative coffers, receives a knighthood.

There is likely to be anger among some Tory MPs at the honours for figures they regard as responsible for Mrs May's failed Brexit strategy.

Gavin Barwell - who succeeded Mr Timothy and Ms Hill as her chief of staff - becomes a life peer while David Lidington, seen as her de facto deputy, and ex-Number 10 communications chief Robbie Gibb are knighted.

Former chief whip Julian Smith - who has since been made Northern Ireland Secretary by Boris Johnson - is made a CBE.

Another close ally, the former trade minister George Hollingbery - who served as Mrs May's parliamentary private secretary in both Downing Street and the Home Office - receives a knighthood.

Mrs May's former political secretary Stephen Parkinson and special advisers Joanna Penn and Elizabeth Sanderson are to become life peers.

There are CBEs for the former Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis, No 10 political aides Paul Harrison and Kirsty Buchanan, as well as Mrs May's official spokesman, James Slack, who continues in the same role with Mr Johnson.

The former joint acting chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 committee Charles Walker is knighted while ex-party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin is upgraded to a Companion of Honour.

MP John Mann, who announced at the weekend he was quitting Labour to become a government anti-Semitism "tsar" has been nominated for for a non-affiliated life peerage while the Green Party have nominated former leader Natalie Bennett for a peerage.

In other appointments, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick becomes a dame while Lady Justice Hallett, the vice president of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division becomes a life peer.

Sir Simon Woolley, the founder of operation Black Vote, and Ruth Hunt, the ex-chief executive of Stonewall, are made crossbench life peers.

A source close to Mrs May said: "This list recognises the many different people who have made a significant contribution to public life during Theresa May's political career.

"It includes not only political colleagues but members of the civil service, civic society, the NHS and the sporting world. It also recognises people from all four nations of the United Kingdom."

The Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, said May's list was "substantially smaller" than those drawn up by predecessors, helping to reduce the size of the House of Lords.

"I hope that the current Prime Minister continues this policy of restraint," he added.

Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery said: "It comes as no surprise that big Tory donors and Number 10 cronies are being honoured yet again.

"The Tories only care about looking after their own and will only stand up for the wealthy few who fund them."