Tributes paid to longest-serving council leader as he stands down after a decade

Councillors from all political groups on Merton Council have paid tribute to the borough’s longest serving council leader, Councillor Stephen Alambritis, who stood down after a decade at tonight’s Council meeting.

Councillor Alambritis became the first Cypriot council leader in Britain when he first won election to the role in 2010 and had led the authority for longer than any previous leader since the council was formed in 1965. Councillor Alambritis will remain a backbench councillor, representing Ravensbury Ward, which he has served since 2003. 

In October, Councillor Alambritis was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to Local Government in South London.

Leading the tributes on behalf of council staff, Chief Executive Ged Curran said: “I would like to thank Councillor Alambritis for the fantastic leadership he has shown over the last decade. He has built wonderful working relationships with officers across the council, as well as with councillors from all the political groups. This is always the first thing visitors to Merton Council comment on and is a credit to Councillor Alambritis’s leadership. I would like to wish Councillor Alambritis all the best for the adventures which lie ahead of him.”

The leaders of all the political groups on Merton Council have paid tribute to Councillor Alambritis’s public service.

The Leader of the Conservative Group, Councillor Nick McLean, said: “Throughout the ten years Councillor Alambritis has spent leading Merton Council, he has always shown his dedication to public service and a commitment to the London Borough of Merton. It was entirely fitting that this decade of service to the borough was recently rewarded with a MBE. Over the time I have known him, he has shown his warm, and occasionally witty, nature to councillors and residents alike. On behalf of the Conservative Group I would like to wish him well for the future.”

The Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Anthony Fairclough, said: “I want to offer thanks from the Liberal Democrat group for Councillor Alambritis’ 17 years of public service. Particularly, I want to thank him for those times his administration has been willing to work with others – whether that’s supporting our campaigns for step free access at Raynes Park and Motspur Park stations; backing our suggestions for advice and support for EU nationals after the EU referendum; and beginning the work to look at the costs of paying care workers the London living wage.”

The Leader of the Merton Park Ward Independent Residents Group, Councillor Peter Southgate said: “In the ten years I’ve known Stephen, I’ve always found him approachable and willing to listen. While I haven’t agreed with every decision he’s made, our relationship has always remained open and courteous. Indeed much of the effectiveness of cross party relationships in Merton is down to his informal and approachable personality, and his ready sense of humour.”

Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “It has been a great honour to serve Merton as council leader for the last decade. Partnership is the key to achieving more for everyone who calls our borough home. It has been an absolute privilege to work closely with teams of dedicated council staff and councillors from across the political spectrum, as well as all the community organisations, voluntary groups, businesses and other public services which are dedicated to supporting Merton.”