Crunch talks are to be held today as councillors select Southampton’s new city council leader.

Just eight days after the fall of former head Simon Letts, the city’s controlling Labour group will decide who they want to lead the party.

It is understood Cabinet member for sustainable living, Chris Hammond, is interested in the role, alongside health and community councillor Dave Shields.

Finance cabinet member Mark Chaloner is also in for the top job.

This came after interim chief Jacqui Rayment announced she “didn’t want” the role, and councillor Satvir Kaur also ruled herself out.

Although whoever is chosen will become authority leader, they won’t be officially appointed until full council next Wednesday, May 16.

The behind-closed-doors meeting will also decide if a reshuffle of the cabinet is needed.

As reported, neither Cllr Hammond nor Shields openly said they wanted the job, but that they were still considering their options even though they had put their names forward.

Nevertheless, one man who did want the job was Cllr Warwick Payne, but his application came too late to even be considered.

He said that after consulting his family and making the decision to run, he had missed the entry deadline which was at 5pm on May 4 – just 14 hours after Letts lost his seat.

The former leader, who had been in office since 2006, was beaten to the Bitterne seat by Conservative Terry Streets by 295 votes.