Kensington and Chelsea Council has elected Cllr Elizabeth Campbell as leader for a third term, after a Full Council vote on Wednesday night.
Following local elections on 5 May, 2022, the Conservative Party in Kensington and Chelsea maintained a majority on the Council and put forward Cllr Campbell as leader.
She has also selected her new Leadership Team and has set out a vision to be a Council Led By Its Communities.
In a keynote speech, she said:
“My aim tonight is to set the wheels in motion to not only be the best Council. But be a council led by its communities.
“We will focus on being relentlessly competent and deliver value for money at a time of rising costs for everyone.
“We will continue to provide better housing. We are serious about tackling climate change. And at every turn, we believe in fairness, and we care about the people we serve.”
Read the full speech below:
Mr Mayor and fellow councillors – it is good to see so many new faces here in the chamber.
I speak tonight not only to reflect on an election victory that, once again, gives us the clear mandate for providing, great services, low tax, clean and safe streets. But also to begin setting out our future – to outline a challenge.
A challenge that started – in reality – on June 14, 2017. A challenge for us to change in light of what happened – to be the best because of what happened – and in doing so – to provide a proper local legacy from the tragedy.
A challenge given to us by the bereaved and survivors from Grenfell Tower. Simply, Mr Mayor, to be the best Council.
We embark on this challenge with a manifesto focused on, competency, fairness, clean, green, and safe streets. And we will once again be talking to communities in the next few months to create a forward plan for the borough.
A plan to underline the challenge set for us, and a plan to understand what being the best council is – in the eyes of the people we serve.
Mr Mayor, we went into the local elections with 35 councillors, and we came out of them the next day with 35 councillors.
It is a credit to the people who sit on these seats behind me, and next to me. Locally elected, and locally trusted. In touch with what people prioritise in their daily lives, in touch with what people need in times of hardship or difficulty. In touch with our local economy, our communities, and our own promises.
And we are already tackling the cost of living for thousands across the borough
Mr Mayor, throughout the last five years, I have been honoured to lead this Council as it has changed. So, my aim tonight is to set the wheels in motion to not only be the best Council. But be a council led by its communities.
We will focus on being relentlessly competent and deliver value for money at a time of rising costs for everyone. We will continue to provide better housing. We are serious about tackling climate change. And at every turn, we believe in fairness, and we care about the people we serve.
Mr Mayor, there is another issue I want to touch on tonight. Not so much a manifesto point. More of a moral message, but an important one. We heard time and time again on the doorsteps how much our residents appreciate our clean streets, twice weekly bin collections, and low Council tax.
But we also heard that the integrity in which we conduct ourselves is of upmost importance. Honesty and integrity is – and will continue to be – the cornerstone of this administration. It is not enough to just deliver services – it is the way we do it. Our manner. And our standards.
In local government, in this chamber, we can lead from the front. My hope is that our Prime Minister chooses a similar path. My hope is that he doesn’t ignore the sentiment expressed in local elections by sensible voters in this borough and elsewhere.
The message on the doorstep was clear. Change and make changes. Focus on the things that matter to people. And above all, lead with integrity and help us recapture trust in British politics.
With integrity and responsibility foremost in my mind I can also announce my new leadership team this evening. A team to help us be the Best Council for our residents.
Kim Taylor-Smith will remain as my deputy, and will see through our commitments to build and improve housing
Cem Kemahli will take up the reins on planning, place and environment, to continue making this borough a world class destination, and lead our mission to be a net zero.
Sof McVeigh takes the important Communities brief, focused on tackling the inequalities in the borough, and bringing people together
Johnny Thalassites will urgently look at how we can step up on the cost of living challenge, and keep our own books balanced, in finance and customer delivery.
Josh Rendall picks up the great work done by Catherine in Local Economy and Employment. Catherine takes Family and Children’s services, on the back of a truly outstanding SEND result.
Emma Will oversees community safety, culture and leisure, with big plans for K&C festival this summer, and Anne Cyron will take on the important adult social care and public health role.
Mr Mayor, there remains one more thing to say this evening. As we enter a poignant month in June, where many of us will reflect on the Grenfell Tragedy five years ago.
I want to reiterate my own commitments to the Grenfell recovery work that continues to this day. It remains at the top of our list because we owe it to people who lost loved ones in a place where they should have been safe.
Mr Mayor, good luck in your year ahead and I wish you the best for your term, and for your chosen charities.