Merton Cabinet Reshuffle Sees Two New Councillors Appointed

The borough's new Mayor also takes up her role for the year

Mayor Janice Howard

Two new cabinet members have been appointed by the Leader of Merton Council, as part of a cabinet reshufle.

Councillor Stephen Alambritis has also made some changes to portfolios as part of new-look cabinet, which was unveiled at a council meeting on May 15.

Councillor Laxmi Attawar and Councillor Eleanor Stringer have joined the cabinet.

The new cabinet is:

  • Leader of the Council – Councillor Stephen Alambritis
  • Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance – Councillor Mark Allison
  • Cabinet Member for Women and Equalities – Councillor Laxmi Attawar
  • Cabinet Member for Children’s Services – Councillor Kelly Braund
  • Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Health and the Environment – Councillor Tobin Byers
  • Cabinet Member for Commerce, Leisure and Culture – Councillor Caroline Cooper-Marbiah
  • Cabinet Member for Voluntary Sector Partnerships and Community Safety – Councillor Edith Macauley
  • Cabinet Member for Schools and Adult Education – Councillor Eleanor Stringer
  • Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Housing and Transport – Councillor Martin Whelton.

Councillor Alambritis said: “When I first became a cabinet member, I had the Equalities portfolio, and have previously been a Commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, so establishing this new role was very important to me. Laxmi is well known across the community as a great advocate for equality, and I am delighted she has agreed to take the role.

“Over the past two years, Merton’s schools have been the best in the country for the progress our children make, and education is every parent’s top priority, so it’s great to be able to appoint Eleanor to the cabinet. She brings a wealth of professional experience in education to her new role, having worked on projects in hundreds of schools across England with a particular focus on raising standards for disadvantaged children.

“I want to thank Councillor Mike Brunt and Councillor Nick Draper for their hard work and service during their time in the cabinet. Theirs will be very hard shoes to fill.”

Councillor Attawar said: “Merton is an incredibly diverse and welcoming borough and the council is committed to ensuring that there are equal opportunities for everyone. I am looking forward to working with all our local communities, faith groups and others to help bridge the gap to make our borough a place where everyone can thrive.”

Eleanor StringerCllr Stringer (pictured left) said: “More parents than ever are choosing to send their children to Merton’s schools because they are among the best performing in the country. Education has been my passion for many years and I want to ensure that every pupil at school in our borough has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Merton is a great place for families, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

At the same meeting. Wimbledon Park Councillor Janice Howard (pictured above) was unanimously elected to serve as the next Mayor of Merton at a special Mayor Making ceremony.

The new Mayor took over the role from Lower Morden ward representative, Councillor Mary Curtin who served as Mayor of Merton for the past year.

Councillor Howard, who was elected to Merton Council in 2010, has lived in the borough since 1990. The mother-of-two, who served on the borough’s Health and Wellbeing Board for the past year is passionate about promoting healthy lifestyles to improve the lives of residents.

Councillor Howard, said: “I feel greatly honoured and immensely proud to be able to serve as the Mayor of Merton and follow in the footsteps of the great many Mayors before me.

I hope, during the coming year, to be able to continue to spread the messages on how a few simple lifestyle changes can really impact positively on everyone’s quality of life.

I am also really looking forward to visiting and meeting residents across all the different parts of the borough. Ever since I first arrived in Merton I have been really impressed by the generosity of local people to get involved with voluntary work, to help the most vulnerable in our community.”

During her long career in corporate conference and events management, Councillor Howard also successfully studied for, and achieved a Master’s degree in operations management.

She said: “I didn’t go to University as a youngster but studied later when I was a working mum so I am passionate about spreading the word that it is never too late to learn new things.”

The new Mayor will be supported in the forthcoming year by her Deputy Mayor, Councillor Edward Foley and her consorts will be her husband Andrew Howard, supported by their two grown-up children Benedict and Isabella Howard. Councillor Howard’s two charities for the coming year are to be Macmillan Cancer Support and Faith in Action.

May 19, 2019