Friday, May 21, 2010

Leader of the Council

On Wednesday night I was privileged to have been elected as Leader of the Council. On the same night I appointed my Cabinet for the forthcoming year. We have many challenges ahead as we try to implement a positive programme of change for our borough against a background of threatened "savage cuts" to public services from the coalition government.

Some of the immediate challenges which we face include the terms on which we enter into any deal for the regeneration of the Elephant and Castle; making every council home warm, dry and safe, and finding funding so that we can implement our pledge to introduce free healthy school meals for all primary school children in the borough.

You can read more on the Southwark council website at

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Labour Win Southwark!

Labour won the council elections which took place last Thursday! After 8 years of Lib Dem / Tory rule we picked up 7 seats to end the elections with 35 councillors; the Lib Dems went down to 25 and the Tories were left with just 3.
If you've been reading my blog over the past few months you will know how frustrated I have been with some of the Lib Dem's campaigning - and in particular their deliberate distortions of what we have been saying.
Well it looks as if Labour's very positive message won the day - and the negative campaign of the Lib Dems was rejected.
Why did we win so well? In the north and middle of the borough I believe that voters were passing a judgment on the council and choosing between the competing policies and pledges. Whilst Simon Hughes' vote went up in Bermondsey and Old Southwark, voters chose to vote Labour in the local elections in the same constituency.
In College Ward in the south of the borough it does seem as if the Tories were squeezed by the fact that the local elections were taking place on the same day as the general election.
In South Camberwell our 4 years of work and campaigning paid off and we won all 3 seats. I am delighted that Cllr Stephen Govier will now be joining Veronica and I on the Labour benches in the Town Hall!
And the victory means that I am now the Leader-elect of the Council! A slightly daunting and humbling prospect, but one which I am really looking forward to, and a role in which I intend to deliver on Labour's manifesto pledges and priorities.
A big thank you to all the residents of South Camberwell who voted Labour on May 6th. We will not let you down!