Richard Hilton Is New Tory Leader

Appointment follows weekend resignation

The Conservative opposition group on Merton Council have named a new leader - Lower Morden Councillor Richard Hilton.

His appointment follows the weekend resignation of former leader Debbie Shears (left).

Councillor Hilton was the Tory spokesman on Environment, Transport and Regeneration until he resigned from that post before the council's budget meeting earlier this month.

Councillor Hilton (left) said Councillor Shears had given the group a good foundation. He added: "Residents want low Council tax, low crime, clean streets and a housing policy that puts local people first.

"We know we can deliver on all these pledges and more. We know, for instance, that when we get to handle the purse strings instead of profligate Labour, for instance, we can deliver the biggest Council Tax cut in Merton's history.

"Unlike Labour, we won’t be letting unelected officers dictate policy. There will be no more fleecing motorists with vicious and unfair parking fines, and no more draconian cuts to services for children and the elderly. Merton Conservatives have a positive vision for a clean, caring, safe, efficient and fair borough. The fight to win back the Council in 2014 just stepped up a gear."

His Deputy Leader will be Wimbledon Hillside Councillor Suzanne Evans. will announce his full Shadow Cabinet after Easter.

Councillor Stephen Alambritis, the Labour Leader of Merton Council, said: "This confirms that Merton's Tories have completely lurched to the right. Wild talk of introducing the biggest cut to the council tax in Merton's history can only mean one thing - huge cuts elsewhere. But rest
assured, we will oppose Tory plans that will result in parks being shut, libraries and children's centres closing as well as the ending of weekly street cleaning. We think our residents deserve better."

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March 19, 2013