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End of an era as council leader Mitchell takes last meeting
9:20am Wednesday 4th April 2012 in Wantage
Mr Mitchell, right, has led the ruling Conservative group for more than 10 years, but will step down from the role on May 15.
He became a county councillor for Bloxham in 1989 and has led his party from coalition with the Liberal Democrats to a majority of 30 since 2009.
But he has also courted controversy, labelling authors Colin Dexter and Philip Pullman, who spoke out against library cuts, as “well-known Oxford lefties”, and describing teenagers campaigning against cuts as a “scruffy rabble” and “oiks”.
Reflecting on his time as leader last night, he said: “It is the best job I have ever had. I have enjoyed it hugely.
“I know I will miss it a great deal but I also know that it is time to move on and life always brings fresh opportunities. I am not retiring, just changing my career direction.”
Labour group leader Liz Brighouse said: “He is going to be a difficult act to follow.
“But he has also been a controversial figure at times and he is one of those idiosyncratic people who people love or hate.”
The next leader will be decided by the 52 Tory councillors in a private vote understood to be on April 26.