The reign of the country’s longest serving council leader ended today after he revealed he was stepping down to become Boris Johnson’s chief of staff.

Following the death of the Mayor of London’s chief of staff, Sir Simon Milton, last week, Wandsworth Council’s leader, Councillor Edward Lister, has been named as his successor.

Coun Lister has been a councillor in the borough since 1976 and been leader of the council since 1992.

In his new role, he will also become deputy mayor for planning, and is expected to start his new job next month.

The appointment means Coun Lister will have to stand down, but his replacement has yet to be announced.

Coun Lister said: “I am incredibly proud to be following in Sir Simon's footsteps and excited to be joining Boris's team at City Hall.

“This is a great time to become involved in the running of London. It's uniquely placed to attract investment in new development that will improve the quality of life for Londoners.

“It's a huge wrench to be leaving Wandsworth. We have a superb team which is committed to showing how a local council can deliver modern, effective services at a price people can afford.”

As Chief of staff, Coun Lister will be responsible for managing the Mayor’s budgets, relations between the capital’s boroughs and ensuring City Hall continues to deliver the Mayor’s priorities.

Mr Johnson said: “Edward has the perfect combination of experience, character and expertise to help me lead this city out of recession and harness the unique opportunity of the 2012 Games to secure London for another generation as the best big city in the world.

“We will always mourn the loss of Simon Milton. The greatest tribute we can pay him is to deliver in the areas that mattered so much to him and improve the lives of Londoners in the great city that he loved. Edward Lister shares that goal.”