Westminster City Council has a new leader.
As expected, Cllr Nickie Aiken was voted as the successor of Philippa Roe, The Baroness Couttie, at a full council meeting on Wednesday (January 25).
She had been named the leader-elect at the end of the year following Cllr Roe’s decision to step down and focus on work in the House of Lords.
Speaking after her election, the Conservative she said: “I am proud and humbled to be the leader of Westminster Council and would like to pay tribute to the excellent leadership shown by Cllr, The Baroness Couttie.
“This unique and special place is at the heart of the undisputed capital of the world, but most importantly, it is home to over a quarter of a million people. The distinctive and well known neighbourhoods that make up our city are places full of local colour and character where people are proud to live.
“This unique mix of global reach, national importance and local character presents the city council with an equally unique set of opportunities and challenges.”
Cllr Aiken was first elected councillor in 2006 to represent the Warwick Ward in Pimlico, where she lives with her husband and two children.
The former press officer for ex-Tory leader William Hague has held cabinet roles in children and young people, parking, community protection and premises management, and before entering local politics was head of group PR at Bradford and Bingley.
She continued: “With my professional background in the private sector and public service, being absolutely rooted in the community which I love and with my experience of a broad range of Cabinet portfolios I feel ready to meet that challenge, with the support of my cabinet colleagues and excellent and dedicated staff.”
And setting herself three priorities over the coming year, she added: “We will put civic leadership and responsibility at the heart of all we do, promote opportunity and fairness across Westminster and set the standards for a world class city.”
Speaking in December when Cllr Aiken was announced leader-elect, Cllr Roe, who once harboured hopes of becoming London's Mayor, said: “I have had the great privilege of leading the council for five very busy but incredibly fulfilling years.
“Having worked closely with Nickie I know that she will do an outstanding job, worthy of Westminster and all that comes with leading this both global and local city and I wish her every success.”
One of the new leader’s first acts was to confirm cabinet appointments and portfolio changes.
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