CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Islington council leader resigns

After almost eight years at the helm, Cllr Richard Watts has announced he will step down

22 February, 2021 — By Calum Fraser

THE Town Hall’s leader has announced he will resign.

Cllr Richard Watts, who has been at the helm for almost eight years, told a meeting of the Labour Group this evening (Monday) that he will step down as leader of the council in May.

He then released a letter to Cllr Gary Heather, the Islington Labour Group chairman, announcing his intentions saying that he will continue as a back bench councillor from May until the local elections next year when he will also step down from his seat in Tollington ward.

In the letter, Cllr Watts said: “Having considered my position over the Christmas break, I feel that the time is right to hand over the mantle of leading the Labour Group and the council.

“I have never believed that a leader remaining in post for decades is good for any administration. Change and renewal are healthy.”

He added: “I have found the challenges of the pandemic intense and, at points, draining.

“Throughout the pandemic, I have been fortunate to spend more time with my family and as my children grow up, I do not want to miss out on more time with them, due to the pressures that come with leading a council.”

Cllr Watts was first elected to Tollington Ward in 2006. He became leader in 2013 after Catherine West stepped down to run for the Hornsey and Wood Green parliamentary seat.

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