The next leader of Hillingdon Council has been chosen after the majority Conservative group of councillors elected Ian Edwards to succeed the outgoing Sir Ray Puddifoot as their leader, making him certain to become the council’s next leader too.
The Eastcote & East Ruislip ward representative, who currently chairs the council’s social care, housing and public health policy overview committee, is set to officially take up the top job at a full council meeting in January. Puddifoot announced in November that will be stepping down in the New Year after 20 years of service.
Edwards (pictured left) was previously Metropolitan Police borough commander in Richmond, leaving that job in 2007 before being elected as a Hillingdon councillor in 2014. After winning the Tory group vote, he said: “I am deeply honoured to be elected by my colleagues and to be given this great opportunity to continue our policy of ‘putting residents first’, a message that resonates with so many across our borough.
“I will now begin to assemble a team that will continue delivering on resident priorities and all the services they value, during these challenging circumstances, before then striving to implement new ideas to their benefit.”
He added: “I would also like to place on record my thanks and appreciation to Sir Ray (pictured right), who has done a brilliant job over the past 20 years in leading our group and Hillingdon Council. He will be greatly missed by all of us, and on behalf of the Conservative group and residents across Hillingdon we wish him and his family the very best for the future.”
Responding to the announcement, a statement from the opposition Labour group said: “The Labour group congratulates Councillor Ian Edwards on winning his party’s leadership and, due to them having a majority on the council, he will become leader of Hillingdon Council in January. The Labour Group will continue to push on issues such as housing, social justice, tackling racism, mental health as well as other issues, and we hope Councillor Edwards will be receptive to our ideas.”