The leader of Merton Council has announced he will step down, ten years after he first won election to the role.

Councillor Stephen Alambritis will formally leave his post at the next meeting of the council on November 18, when a new Leader will also be proposed for election.

First elected to the council as Ravensbury ward councillor in in 2003, Cllr Alambritis became Labour Leader in the 2007/8 municipal year, and took the council’s most senior role in 2010 following the first of three successive election victories.

With over a decade of service, he has led the authority for longer than any previous Leader since the council was formed in 1965.

In addition to his role as Council Leader, Cllr Alambritis has been a member of the Better Regulation Task Force at the Cabinet Office, and a Commissioner at both the Disability Rights Commission and at the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Cllr Alambritis is also a trustee on the board of London Sport and a member of the Leaders’ Committee at London Councils.

He says, some of his leadership highlights include:

- Improving services for families

- Being more business-like in how the council operates

- Supporting the most vulnerable such as, fighting St Helier proposals and leading the council’s response to the pandemic.

Wimbledon Times:

He will remain as a backbench councillor, representing the Ravensbury ward, which he has served since 2003.

Councillor Alambritis said: “It has been an incredible privilege to serve the borough I love for so long.

"There have been great times, and of course some difficult ones, but it has been an honour because Merton is my home, and my family’s home.

“I said back when I started as Leader that I wanted to improve services for families, support the most vulnerable in the borough, and get a more business-like focus at the council. I really believe we’ve done that.

“We’ve improved and expanded schools – with better exam results and more capacity, as well as the new school in Wimbledon.

"We have built the new leisure centre in Morden and opened a new library in Colliers Wood, and delivered six tax freezes in ten years despite funding cuts.

"We’ve maintained 100% tax support for those in need, and delivered the new learning disability centre at Leyton Road.

“Together, we’ve built one of the best partnership environments in London.

"Our public services, health and voluntary sectors work hand-in-hand, and that’s never been more evident than during the current pandemic.”