Hillingdon Council’s new leader, Ian Edwards, pledges to continue fight against Heathrow 3rd runway and HS2
Hillingdon Council (15th January) has appointed Councillor Ian Edwards as new leader of the local authority. He replaces London and Hillingdon’s longest serving council leader, Cllr Ray Puddifoot, who announced he was stepping down in October last year after 20 years of service. Sir Ray said: “As I step down tonight I do so in the knowledge that that Hillingdon Council has the administration, resources and first class staff which will see this council and our residents through the current pandemic and beyond.” Cllr Edwards, who also replaced Cllr Puddifoot as Conservative group leader, pledged to continue defending the borough’s environment and residents against a 3rd runway at Heathrow, and mitigate the impact of HS2.
Hillingdon Council’s new leader pledges to continue fight against Heathrow 3rd runway and HS2
Ian Edwards replaces London and Hillingdon’s longest-serving council leader Sir Ray Puddifoot
18.1.2021 (My London)
Hillingdon Council has appointed councillor Ian Edwards as new leader of the local authority.
Cllr Edwards replaces London and Hillingdon’s longest serving council leader, cllr Ray Puddifoot, who announced he was stepping down in October last year after 20 years of service.
In the transition which took place in a virtual full council meeting on January 15, Sir Ray paid tribute to officers, his Conservative colleagues, residents and the Labour opposition as he stepped down at a time Hillingdon Council is recognised as “one of the best councils in the country”.
He added: “As an organisation that I leave as leader tonight it’s unrecognisable from the council I was elected to lead in the year 2000…
“As I step down tonight I do so in the knowledge that that Hillingdon Council has the administration resources and first class staff which will see this council and our residents through the current pandemic and beyond.”
A number of councillors including opposition leader Peter Curling, Ickenham councillor and MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, David Simmonds, and deputy leader Jonathan Bianco, paid tribute to the outgoing leader, while education chief cllr Susan O’Brien said cllr Edwards had “big boots to fill”.
Cllr Edwards, who also replaced cllr Puddifoot as Conservative group leader, vowed to residents that despite the leadership change, there will be “no change” in the services delivered.
He pledged to continue defending the borough’s environment and residents against a third runway at Heathrow, and mitigate the impact of HS2, while he shared a vision for more innovation at the council, and a focus on young people.
“Just as we developed and implemented a strategy to support older people to deliver better in lives in Hillingdon, so we will find better ways to better help our young people and young families to reach their full potential,” he said.
“The availability and standard of housing presents a challenge that we will confront and my intention is to increase the supply of affordable housing.”
But he also committed that the present priority is beating the pandemic, supporting residents and businesses and working with health partners to help “return to normal as quickly as possible”.
He was first elected to the council in 2014, representing Yiewsley, before becoming a ward member for Eastcote and East Ruislip in 2018.
He previously worked as a chief officer at Hillingdon Council for three years, and served 30 years in the police force, retiring as the borough commander for Richmond in 2007.
The new cabinet under Cllr Edwards was also approved at the meeting. Members such as cllr O’Brien, cllr Bianco and health chief cllr Jane Palmer have stayed on after serving in cllr Puddifoot’s cabinet, while new members such as cllr Martin Goddard will take on the finance portfolio.
There was also a committee chairs shake-up, with former cabinet member for planning and transport cllr Keith Burrows, appointed as chair of the influential executive scrutiny committee.
Calls from the Labour group to have opposition leader cllr Curling lead the body were rejected by the new leader.
Speaking after the meeting, Labour councillor Kerri Prince, hit out at the decision, saying: “Choosing someone from your own pool of supporters to take on a key role which holds you to account will prevent transparency and accountability.”
Cllr Puddifoot was also appointed as the council’s champion for the armed forces, and will continue to serve as an Ickenham ward councillor until the next election in May 2022.