The Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis, has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Cllr Alambritis has been awarded an MBE for services to Local Government in South London.
He is the first Cypriot council leader in Britain and the longest serving leader of Merton Council, since the authority was established in 1965. In 2013, Merton Council was named Best Achieving Council at the prestigious MJ Achievement Awards. The following year, the council won the Best All Round Small Business Friendly Borough award from London Councils.
First elected to the Merton council as Ravensbury ward councillor in 2003, Cllr Alambritis became Labour Leader in the 2007/8 municipal year, and took the council’s most senior role in 2010, following the first of three successive election victories. Last month, Cllr Alambritis announced he would be standing down in November, following a decade as leader. He will continue to represent his ward as a backbench councillor.
Under the leadership of Cllr Alambritis, the council has operated in a more business-like way, with particular emphasis on supporting the most vulnerable and improving services for families. Key achievements include building a state of the art leisure centre in Morden and a new library building in Colliers Wood. A learning disability centre was also developed in Abbey ward and a brand new secondary school is due to open in South Wimbledon soon.
Cllr Alambritis has always championed businesses across the borough, following his own successful career at the Federation of Small Businesses. He also led the council’s support for local football club AFC Wimbledon to achieve their goal of returning home to Plough Lane in a brand new stadium, which is part of a development of 800 much-needed homes.
In addition to his role as Council Leader, Cllr Alambritis has been a member of the Better Regulation Task Force at the Cabinet Office, and a Commissioner at both the Disability Rights Commission and at the Equality and Human Rights Commission. He was previously a representative on the European Union Committee of the Regions. Cllr Alambritis is a trustee on the board of London Sport and a member of the Leaders’ Committee at London Councils, as well as chairing the five borough South London Partnership. Cllr Alambritis is also on the board of London CIV Ltd, the collective investment vehicle for London borough pension funds.
The Queen’s Birthday Honours list was due to be published in June, but was postponed so that doctors, nurses and volunteers could be nominated for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Member of the Order of the British Empire is awarded for outstanding achievement or service to the community.
Cllr Alambritis said: “It is a great honour to be included on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, alongside some incredible people who have done so much in response to the pandemic and I would like to congratulate them all.
“It has been an absolute privilege to lead Merton Council and to serve the diverse communities in a place which I am proud to call home. I share this recognition with everyone I have worked in partnership with – the residents, councillors, council officers, voluntary groups, businesses and community organisations – to achieve more for our borough.”
The Chair of London Councils, Councillor Peter John, said: “This is a worthy recognition for Stephen’s brilliant work as Leader of Merton Council. Stephen has been a strong advocate for his borough and for London over the past decade and I am delighted that he has been honoured by the Queen.”