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.