Mark Allison is named new leader of Merton council – and his cabinet is most diverse in borough’s history

By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter

A new leader of Merton council has been appointed.

Councillor Mark Allison was chosen to succeed councillor Stephen Alambritis, who was the leader for 10 years, on Wednesday.

Cllr Allison was first elected to the council in 2002 and was previously deputy leader and cabinet member for finance.

He said: “I am proud to announce that next week I will launch Merton Together, a joint campaign with our partners to support our residents.

“Together means being more inclusive, my wife and son are mixed race and I live in a mixed race family.

“The events of this year, from George Floyd to the treatment of black footballers, have made us even more determined to fight for diversity and justice.

“These are my values and will be at the heart of my administration. I am delighted to announce the most diverse and ambitious cabinet in Merton’s 65-year history, two thirds women and more than half from an ethnic minority.”

Councillor Mark Allison

And for the first time, Cllr Allison has appointed joint deputy leaders Eleanor Stringer and Owen Pritchard.

Remaining on the cabinet are:

  • Children’s services, schools and adult education – Councillor Eleanor Stringer
  • Culture leisure and skills – Councillor Caroline Cooper-Marbiah
  • Housing regeneration and the climate emergency – Councillor Martin Whelton

And joining the cabinet are:

  • Performance recovery and the economy – Councillor Owen Pritchard
  • Women and Equalities – Councillor Marsie Skeet
  • Adult social care and public health – Councillor Rebecca Lanning
  • Local environment and green spaces – Councillor Natasha Irons
  • Partnerships, public safety and tackling crime – Councillor Agatha Akyigyina
  • Finance – Councillor Tobin Byers

Councillor Byers was previously member for the environment but resigned from cabinet in August.

The new line-up sees councillors Edith Macauley, Laxmi Attawar and Stephen Alambritis lose their cabinet positions.

Pictured top: Merton council’s offices


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