Merton London Borough Council

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Merton London Borough Council
Coat of arms or logo
Coat of Arms
Mayor of Merton
Cllr Janice Howard, Conservative
since May 2019
Leader of the Council
Cllr Stephen Alambritis, Labour
since May 2010
Chief executive
Ged Curran
since March 2004
Seats60 councillors
Merton London Borough Council June 2019 by election.png
Political groups
Majority Party (33)

Opposition (27)

First past the post
Last election
3 May 2018
Next election
5 May 2022
Meeting place
Morden Civic Centre, London Road. - - 21466.jpg
Civic Centre, London Road, Morden

Merton London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Merton in Greater London, England. It is one of the 32 councils that form Greater London.


A map showing the wards of Merton since 2002

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[edit]

Merton is divided into 20 wards, each electing three councillors. The political voting patterns in Merton broadly follow the geographical divide between Merton's two UK Parliament constituencies.

The eastern Mitcham and Morden constituency, which is held by Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, contains ten wards and only ever elects Labour councillors.

The western Wimbledon constituency, which is held by Conservative MP Stephen Hammond, contains ten wards and usually elects Conservative councillors, of which there are presently 17. Since 1990, the ward of Merton Park has only ever returned councillors for Merton Park Ward Residents Association.[1] Since 1994, the ward of West Barnes, which contains Merton's half of the town of Motspur Park, has swung between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats; the latter presently hold all three seats in the ward.[2][3][4][5] In the local elections in 2018, Liberal Democrat councillors were elected in the wards of Trinity and Dundonald for the first time in the borough's history, bringing the party's seat numbers to a record of six seats. Furthermore, the wards of Abbey and Cannon Hill routinely return Labour councillors.[5]

The council was under no overall control in its first four years (1964-8), after which it fell to Conservative majority control (1968–71) and then Labour majority control (1971-4). It returned to Conservative majority control from 1974 to 1989, and then Conservative minority control until 1990, after which it reverted to Labour majority control until 2006. Between 2006 and 2010, the council was led by a minority Conservative administration, followed by a minority Labour administration between 2010 and 2014. The council returned to Labour majority control in 2014.


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)


At the Annual Council Meeting, a mayor is elected to serve for a year. At the same time, the Council elects a deputy mayor. Since 1978, each Mayor must also be an elected councillor.

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:[6]

  • 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
  • 2011–12 Councillor Gilli Lewis-Lavender
  • 2012–13 Councillor David Williams
  • 2013–14 Councillor Krystal Miller
  • 2014–15 Councillor Agatha Akyigyina
  • 2015–16 Councillor David Chung
  • 2016–17 Councillor Brenda Fraser
  • 2017-18 Councillor Marsie Skeete
  • 2018-19 Councillor Mary Curtin
  • 2019- Councillor Janice Howard


  1. ^ "Merton Park Ward Residents Association". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  2. ^ "London Borough of Merton Local Elections Statistics 1994" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 August 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Merton London Borough Council Election Results, 2002" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 August 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  4. ^ Services, CS - Electoral. "Council election results 2010". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Merton Council Elections 2018 Wards Summary". 3 May 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  6. ^ "London Borough of Merton, Past Mayors of Merton". 23 May 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2011.