A Cheshire West & Chester councillor who is stepping down to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian said it is ‘one of the most difficult decisions’ he has ever made.

Cllr Ben Powell, (Lab) ward member for St Paul’s who at 27, is CWaC’s youngest councillor, has announced that he will stand down at the next election in May, to take a break from local politics and concentrate on his burgeoning career in comedy.

Elected in 2011 aged just 23, Cllr Powell has served a number of roles on the council, including Shadow Executive member for Regeneration, Chairman of Public Accounts and more recently Shadow Executive Member for Finance and Legal. 

He has also worked closely with Cllr Angela Claydon, helping to set up the Friends of Little Sutton Train Station group, which led to the improved station winning a number of awards.  The pair also fought for a range of other improvements across the ward, including the new car park at Little Sutton Library.

In the months leading up to his departure, he aims to play a leading role in the party’s local and parliamentary election campaigns. 

Cllr Powell, who was unanimously reselected by Labour party members in the St Paul’s ward to contest the election, told The Pioneer: “This was one of the most difficult decisions that I have ever had to make, but I have decided to take a step back from frontline politics in order to concentrate on other interests including my comedy career. 

“At the moment I am considering it as taking a break and I am absolutely not ruling out making a return in the future.

“The last four years have been extremely enjoyable and I would like to express my gratitude to local residents and Labour party members for their incredible support,” he added. 

“While I initially experienced a number of rude remarks about my age from members of the Conservative group, I think they very quickly learned not to underestimate me and I like to think that I’ve always stood my ground in debates.

“The next task for me is to spend the next few months ensuring that we deliver a Labour government and a Labour council.”

Cllr Powell started performing stand-up comedy in June 2013 and has made a big impact on the circuit, including being named ‘Live at the Pilgrim’ Comedian of the Year 2014 in Liverpool, where he was pitted against some of the area’s best new acts. 

CWaC councillor Ben Powell is leaving the council to be a stand up comedian
 

He has since performed all over the country, including at the Glastonbury and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals and has shared the stage with big name acts including Josie Long, Justin Moorhouse and Patrick Monahan.

Labour Group Leader, Cllr Samantha Dixon said his departure will be a ‘huge loss’ to CWaC’s Labour group but wished him the best for the future.

“Ben has played an essential role in opposition and his contribution has been enormous not just to local politics but to his local community who he has represented magnificently,” she said. “While we are extremely sorry to see him go, on behalf of the Labour Group, I wish him the very best for the future.

“I know Ben will be helping us in our goal of Labour taking control of the council in May as he has done ever since his election in 2011. This young man has a very bright future ahead of him,” she added.