Newly-elected Council Leader announces Merton Together initiative

Record-breaking cabinet appointed – “most diverse and ambitious in history”

Councillor Mark Allison has been elected as the new Leader of the London Borough of Merton at a Full Council meeting of Merton councillors on 18 November, and appointed the most diverse cabinet in Merton’s 65-year history.

Cllr Allison, who represents residents in the Lavender Fields ward, takes over from Cllr Stephen Alambritis – who is stepping down from the role after ten years, making him the council’s longest-serving Leader.

In his first act as Leader, Cllr Alison announced Merton Together initiative to build upon the way he says the community has worked together during 2020 to support the vulnerable this winter as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. He also paid tribute to the outgoing Cllr Alambritis for the unprecedented success he has brought to the borough over the past decade and announced a record-breaking cabinet, which he says is the most diverse and ambitious in Merton’s history.

Cllr Allison said: “Stephen has given a decade of his life to delivering for Merton, and it’s been a privilege to work as his deputy.

“In that time, the council has focused on being business-like and efficient; ensuring we support the most vulnerable when they need us; and improving education.

“Under his leadership, every secondary school in the borough has been rated good or outstanding, we have always kept council tax rises either frozen or low and we continue to be one of the few boroughs to continue extending full council tax support to those in need while bridging the gap between the East and West of the borough.

“Fittingly, the impact of his leadership has been visible right to the very last; only a few days ago we saw the Harris Academy open its doors at Wimbledon, and I was one of the many, many fans who was thrilled to see AFC Wimbledon return home to Plough Lane – both part of our vision for the borough, both delivered thanks to Stephen’s drive.”

In setting out his values, Cllr Allison announced a new Cabinet team of key decision-makers that was the most diverse and ambitious in Merton’s history.

There will be a record six women members of the cabinet, and five from ethnic minorities. For the first time, there will also be Joint Deputy Leaders of the Council, and Merton will have its first ever cabinet member with “Climate Emergency” in their job title.

Cllr Allison said: “I’m delighted to announce the most diverse and ambitious cabinet in Merton’s 65-year history. Two thirds are women, and more than a half are from a black or ethnic minority. We have joint deputy leaders for the first time, a woman and a man, and also for the first time have a cabinet member with Climate Emergency in their title.

“As a group, we have a lot to get on with. But our immediate shared priority is of course supporting the borough through the pandemic, in particular, those vulnerable people who are facing a difficult winter.

“That’s why I’m proud to announce that, in line with the traditions of partnership in Merton, we will next week launch #MertonTogether – a joint campaign with local partners to promote all the ways we can come together this Christmas to support our residents when they need it.

“These values are my values, and they will be at the heart of this administration. Through my work at the council and at the foodbank, I have seen extraordinary efforts by so many people throughout this year, and it has made me very proud of this borough.

“As Leader of the Council I intend to celebrate our great community and the way it works together. Merton is truly a great place, and I am humbled to take on this role.”

London Borough of Merton – Cabinet Members from November 18, 2020

Leader of the CouncilCllr Mark Allison
Joint Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and EducationCllr Ellie Stringer
Joint Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Performance, Recovery and the EconomyCllr Owen Pritchard
Cabinet Member for Women and EqualitiesCllr Marsie Skeete
Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public HealthCllr Rebecca Lanning
Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and the Climate EmergencyCllr Martin Whelton
Cabinet Member for the Local Environment & Green SpacesCllr Natasha Irons
Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and SkillsCllr Caroline Cooper-Marbiah
Cabinet Member for Partnerships, Public Safety and Tackling CrimeCllr Agatha Akyigyina
Cabinet Member for FinanceCllr Tobin Byers