Camden's Conservative leader has resigned, triggering a by-election for one of just three seats held by the party.

Cllr Gio Spinella has stepped down from representing Frognal ward after more than 13 years' public service, saying he will be moving away.

A by-election will be held on May 2, the same day as the Mayor of London and London Assembly elections.

On the Hampstead and Highgate Conservatives' web page, Mr Spinella said: "Serving the residents of Frognal, and Frognal and Fitzjohns ward before it, has been one of the greatest honours of my life.

"Frognal is a wonderful corner of Camden, rich with wonderful homes, beautiful streets and above all a community of residents all committed to preserving everything that makes this area unique."

He added: "I intend to grasp new opportunities, which will involve me moving away from Camden. This will mean will I no longer able to properly represent you. 

"Rather than coast for the next two years, I considered it only correct to step down and let another candidate step up, win your trust and take on the honour and privilege of service."

Mr Spinella originally joined the Tories when William Hague stepped down as leader in 2001.

It wasn’t until four years later, during the 2005 leadership election between David Davis and future Prime Minister David Cameron, that he decided to get more involved.

He was elected to Camden Council in 2010 and became opposition leader in 2022 after his predecessor, Oliver Cooper, failed to get elected in Belsize.

That night the Conservatives lost their official opposition status to the Liberal Democrats, who have five councillors, after losing all but three seats on the Labour-dominated council.

Mr Spinella concluded by pointing to the issues his successor will deal with, writing: "Our ward is under increasing pressure from the rat-run – exacerbated by the London Mayor’s absurd decision to restrict Finchley Road to 20 mph.

"Camden Council’s proposed solution - restricting the access in Kidderpore Ave, Kidderpore Gardens and Ferncroft Ave -  is a cure worse than the disease.

"Our ward is also under the ever-present threat of overdevelopment. The loss of green spaces and the council’s proposed changes to licensing will make life harder for residents near the high street."

The Conservatives have announced Steve Adams as their candidate.

The Liberal Democrats have announced Dr Sarah Hoyle as their candidate.

The Labour group has been contacted.