Birmingham to have first female Conservative Lord Mayor in 40 years

Anne Underwood will take over the role in May

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Councillor Anne Underwood has been appointed as the next Lord Mayor of Birmingham, set to take over the ceremonial role in May.

She will be the first female Tory Mayor in forty years; the first since Freda Cocks who served from 1977-8. The current Lord Mayor, Labour’s Carl Rice, will take over as deputy.

The historical position dates back to 1896, when the office was instated by Queen Victoria. Although it is a non-political role, as First Citizen, Councillor Underwood represents both the city and its people. The position is typically held for a year, and rotates between Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat representatives.

Talking about her new role, she said: “I’m really looking forward to representing Birmingham as its first citizen and raising its profile as a young and exciting place to live, work and play.”

Anne Underwood was born in Northfield, and moved to Erdington as a teenager. She joined the Four Oaks Conservatives in 1975, the year that Margaret Thatcher was elected to power, and seven years later was appointed a seat on the council, where she has been ever since.

Not only has she served on the council, but also as a governor of Wilson Stuart School and Sports College, and as Chairman of North Birmingham Primary Care. Underwood has also been a staunch supporter of the arts, and has served on various boards of artistic establishments, including the Alexander Theatre, CBSO, Birmingham Opera, Birmingham Hippodrome and Birmingham Repertory Theater.

2018 will be her final year on the city council.