Merton London Borough Council

Merton London Borough Council
Type London Borough Council of London Borough of Merton
Leader Stephen Alambritis, Labour
Mayor Gilli Lewis-Lavender, Conservative
Members 60 councillors
28 / 60
Lib Dems
2 / 60
27 / 60
Merton Park Residents
3 / 60
Voting system First past the post
Last election 6 May 2010

Merton London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Merton in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council, one of 32 in the United Kingdom capital of London. Merton is divided into 20 wards, each electing three councillors.

The council was created by the London Government Act 1963.



There were previously a number of local authorities responsible for the Merton area. The current local authority was first elected in 1964, a year before formally coming into its powers and prior to the creation of the London Borough of Merton on 1 April 1965.

It was envisaged through the London Government Act 1963 that London local authorities would share power with the Greater London Council. The split of powers and functions meant that the Greater London Council was responsible for "wide area" services such as fire, ambulance, flood prevention, and refuse disposal; with the local authorities responsible for "personal" services such as social care, libraries, cemeteries and refuse collection. This arrangement lasted until 1986 when London Borough Councils gained responsibility for some services that had been provided by the Greater London Council, such as waste disposal.

Political background of the Council

The May 2010 local government elections saw the Labour Party become the council largest party, following the loss of three seats by the Conservative Party, two to the Liberal Democrats and one to Labour. This followed four years of a Conservative-led administration. The current council is under no overall control but run by a Labour minority administration and its composition is:

  • Labour: 28
  • Conservatives: 27
  • Merton Park Residents: 3
  • Liberal Democrats: 2

Since 1964 political control of the council has been held by the following parties:[1]

Party in control Years
No overall control 1964–1968
Conservative 1968–1971
Labour 1971–74
Conservative 1974–1990
Labour 1990–2006
No overall control 2006–present

The political split of council wards between parties parallels almost exactly the division of the borough between its two parliamentary constituencies. The eastern and southeastern wards in the Mitcham and Morden constituency held by Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh are represented by Labour councillors, apart from Lower Morden ward where there are three Conservative councillors. The northern and western wards in the Wimbledon constituency held by Conservative MP Stephen Hammond are represented by Conservative councillors, except for West Barnes where there are two Liberal Democrats and one Conservative councillor, together with the three Merton Park Residents councillors and Abbey ward where there are two Conservatives and one Labour councillor.

The following have served as leaders of Merton Council since its formation

  • 1965-71 Vincent Talbot (Conservative)
  • 1971-74 Dennis Hempstead (Labour)
  • 1974-75 Vincent Talbot (Conservative)
  • 1975-80 Allan Jones (Conservative)
  • 1980-88 Harry Cowd (Conservative)
  • 1988-90 John Elvidge (Conservative)
  • 1990-91 Geoff Smith (Labour)
  • 1991-97 Tony Colman (Labour)
  • 1997-99 Mike Brunt (Labour)
  • 1999-2000 Philip Jones (Labour)
  • 2000-01 Peter Holt (Labour)
  • 2001-06 Andrew Judge (Labour)
  • 2006-10 David Williams (Conservative)
  • 2010- Stephen Alambritis (Labour)

The longest serving councillor is Philip Jones who represents Ravensbury ward. He has served on the council continuiously since 1986 and prior to that, between 1971–74 and 1978-82. However, Cllr David Williams has served on the council since 1990 and previously between 1974–87, by total number of years he is the councillor with the most years of service.


At the Annual Council Meeting, a ceremonial mayor is elected to serve for a year. At the same time, it elects a deputy mayor to serve alongside the mayor. Since 1978, each Mayor must also be an elected councillor. Cllr Gilli Lewis-Lavender who is a Conservative councillor and represents West Barnes is currently the Mayor of the London Borough of Merton.[2]

The Mayor also acts as the ceremonial and civic head of the borough during his/her year of office and the post is non-political. Each year the Mayor also chooses two charities which will benefit from a series of fundraising events throughout the mayoral year.

The following have served as Mayor since the formation of the Borough in 1965 and reflects their status on the council at the time they were elected as Mayor:[3]

  • 1965-66 Alderman Cyril Marsh
  • 1966-67 Councillor Sir Cyril Black (also MP for Wimbledon)
  • 1967-68 Alderman George Pearce
  • 1968-69 Alderman Norman Clarke
  • 1969-70 Councillor Philip Corbishley
  • 1970-71 Councillor Alf Leivers
  • 1971-72 Mr Jim Coombes
  • 1972-73 Councillor Jim Brown
  • 1973-74 Councillor Vera Bonner
  • 1974-75 Councillor Bernard Clifford
  • 1975-76 Councillor Norman Healey
  • 1976-77 Councillor John Watson
  • 1977-78 Alderman Peter Kenyon
  • 1978-79 Councillor George Watt
  • 1979-80 Councillor Ron Haddow JP
  • 1980-81 Councillor Tom Bull
  • 1981-82 Councillor Vincent Talbot
  • 1982-83 Councillor Rothesay Mackenzie
  • 1983-84 Councillor Frank Meakings
  • 1984-85 Councillor Tony Nicholson
  • 1985-86 Councillor Diana Harris
  • 1986-87 Councillor Dennis Taylor
  • 1987-88 Councillor Harold Turner
  • 1988-89 Councillor Allan Jones
  • 1989-90 Councillor Barry Edwards
  • 1990-91 Councillor Joe Abrams OBE
  • 1991-92 Councillor Peter McCabe
  • 1992-93 Councillor Slim Flegg MBE
  • 1993-94 Councillor Marie-Louise de Villiers
  • 1994-95 Councillor Malcolm Searle
  • 1995-96 Councillor Bridget Smith
  • 1996-97 Councillor Slim Flegg MBE
  • 1997-98 Councillor Sheila Knight
  • 1998-99 Councillor Linda Kirby
  • 1999-2000 Councillor Joyce Paton
  • 2000-01 Councillor Ian Munn
  • 2001-02 Councillor Stuart Pickover
  • 2002-03 Councillor Edith Macauley JP
  • 2003-04 Councillor Maxi Martin
  • 2004-05 Councillor Margaret Brierly
  • 2005-06 Councillor Judy Saunders
  • 2006-07 Councillor Geraldine Stanford
  • 2007-08 Councillor John Dehaney
  • 2008-09 Councillor Martin Whelton
  • 2009-10 Councillor Nick Draper
  • 2010-11 Councillor Oonagh Moulton
  • 2011- Councillor Gilli Lewis-Lavender


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