THE former leader of Worcester City Council has spoken of his deep sadness at being ousted – and says he has “always tried to do the right thing” for the public.

Tory councillor Simon Geraghty was dismissed last night as part of the shock Labour coup, bringing an end to his seven-year reign.

Today, he spoke of his anguish at being axed – and admitted he only realised his fate was coming in the hours leading up to the vote.

He spent this afternoon clearing the desk of his office at Orchard House, which will now be taken by Coun Adrian Gregson.

“It became clear on Tuesday morning the Lib Dems would not be continuing my agreement with them, which is exceptionally disappointing,” he said.

“It’s patent nonsense that this will lead to a more stable administration – the Lib Dems have shown their true allegiance to the socialists.

“I want to thank the management team and the staff. I’ve worked alongside them for a long time and built up good relationships.”

The 36-year-old became the youngest council leader in the country when he took over in May 2006 at the age of 29, from former Tory Stephen Inman. Since then, he has overseen many major improvements to Worcester, including the record-breaking £5 million restoration of the riverside and the £60 million Hive, Europe’s first fully-integrated university and public library.

Another key change has been the improvements to Lowesmoor, led by Asda and the new £75 million St Martin’s Quarter complex.

Policy-wise, he was also a staunch advocate for keeping council tax bills down and was partly responsible for three successive years of freezes.

He says he plans to remain a politician and will focus on his role as deputy leader of Worcestershire County Council, as well as Tory group leader at the Guildhall.

“I am proud of the track record built up under my leadership. I have always tried to do my best for Worcester and the people of this city,” he said.

“When you look at the regeneration, particularly with the riverside, Lowesmoor, and the way we’ve developed a strong relationship with the university, I look back on it all proudly.

“I will be watching the new administration closely because they’ve got some big decisions coming up.