Tributes were paid to retiring councillors including one former MP who has served the public for 40 years and the current mayor.

Several long-serving Sutton councillors have decided not to stand in May's elections, among them are Councillors Graham Tope, Sean Brennan and Paddy Kane who have more than 80 years of council experience between them.

Councillors agreed a vote of thanks to the retiring members at Monday night's full council meeting.

Coun Tope first became a councillor in 1974. He was one of the borough's first Liberal Democrat Councillors and has gone on to see the council move into Lib Dem control, become and MP for the area and be made a Lord.

Sutton Guardian: Sean Brennan

Coun Sean Brennan

He told the meeting the highlight of his service had not been becoming an MP, but working as a councillor.

He added: "Many people get into local government to get into Parliament, I see it the other way around - Parliament is a good training ground for local government."

Current Mayor Coun Sean Brennan is also retiring in May. Council leader Ruth Dombey paid tribute to his "caring, compassionate nature" while opposition Coun Graham Witham also weighed in to speak highly of a man who had been a rival for many years.

Coun Witham said: "I've found Sean Brennan a delightful person to know and to call a friend.
"He has shown that politics doesn't have to be divisive."

Coun Tope paid tribute to all his fellow councillors but reserved special praise for Coun Paddy Kane, who was first elected on the same day as him in 1974.