New Haringey Council leader signals change as cabinet confirmed
- Credit: Rachel Kiki
Haringey Council’s new leader called on a “massive shift” in listening to the borough’s communities after being sworn in on Thursday.
Cllr Peray Ahmet was officially declared leader at meeting of the council’s AGM, after ousting Cllr Joseph Ejiofor by one vote in a leadership challenge on May 10.
Cllr Ahmet’s intent for change was indicated by the appointment of an almost entirely new cabinet, with only Cllr Seema Chandwani surviving from the previous administration.
Elsewhere, Cllr Adam Jogee was re-appointed as mayor, while Cllr Mike Hakata was made deputy leader.
Early years’ services and community safety were cited by Haringey’s new leader as two of her priorities in a “collaborative” office coming out of the pandemic.
But the Noel Park councillor was challenged by the Liberal Democrat opposition to “get a grip” on how the town hall interacts with councillors and the community; to “be strong” on tackling racism; and to “finally take action” on the climate emergency.
Cllr Ahmet said there needs to be a “basic democratic shift” in how the council works.
“I went to White Hart Lane school (now Woodside High) in Wood Green,” she said. Plenty has changed in the time since I left but if there's one thing that persists it’s that children and young people growing up in the borough don’t feel listened to.
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“Communities don’t feel listened to and we need a massive shift in the way council talks with people and works with people to change that.
“I want to bring all my experience of the borough and community into doing that. We know local people want a stake in their community and to be involved in decisions that alter their lives.
“We need to bring people in and be unafraid to open up. With that, genuine transformative change is possible and I believe I have the right team in place to help achieve those aims.”
Cllr Luke Cawley-Harrison, leader of the Haringey Liberal Democrats, asked why the post of cabinet member for local investment and economic growth had been removed when businesses had been “decimated” by the pandemic.
He called on the council to avoid an “internal circus” ahead of the next elections and that issues around racism, antisemitism and transphobia had “festered” inside Haringey Labour “for far too long”.
Cllr Ahmet said that, as someone who has experienced racism growing up in the borough, she will “never will be silent” on tackling discrimination.
New Haringey Council cabinet
- Cllr Peray Ahmet - Leader
- Cllr Mike Hakata - Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport and the Climate Emergency and Deputy Leader of the Council
- Cllr John Bevan - Cabinet Member for Planning, Licensing and Housing Services
- Cllr Zena Brabazon - Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children and Families
- Cllr Seema Chandwani - Cabinet Member for Customer Service, Welfare and the Public Realm
- Cllr Lucia Das Neves - Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Well-Being
- Cllr Julie Davies - Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills and Corporate Services
- Cllr Isidoros Diakides - Cabinet Member for Finance and Transformation
- Cllr Ruth Gordon - Cabinet Member for House Building, place-making and Development