Leyton News

Cabinet member for housing stepping down

Cllr Miller joins up to eleven other Labour councillors not running for re-election this May
By Victoria Munro

Cllr Simon Miller (centre) in the EMD cinema (WF Council)
Cllr Simon Miller (centre) in the EMD cinema (WF Council)

The cabinet member for housing in Waltham Forest has made the “difficult decision” not to stand for re-election in May.

Cllr Simon Miller, who holds the portfolio for housing development and economic prosperity, announced his departure in a message to Labour members, seen by the Echo, last week.

Cllr Miller, who also represents Leyton ward, joins seven other Labour councillors not running and up to four who may be de-selected, depending on the outcome of ongoing appeals.

In his parting message, Cllr Miller wrote that holding a full-time job and a cabinet role is “in the long-term unsustainable”.

Cllr Miller wrote: “Like many of us, the last two years have given me cause to look again at the priorities in my life… I’m stepping back to be able to spend more time with the people I love while I still can. It’s a decision I made with sadness but with no regrets.

“I am hugely proud of what I have helped achieve in Leyton as a ward councillor… When I was first elected, there were endemic problems with lighting and cleaning on our largest estate, as well as littering and parking across the ward. These are now distant memories. 

“I am immensely proud of the work I have done… including decisions that were difficult and unpopular but have since been proven right.”

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He added that he is “honoured” to have spent the last five years as a cabinet member for the borough’s first two female leaders and asked the party to stand behind recently elected leader Grace Williams.

His message concluded: “To do this means standing against the voices of disruption, extremism and intolerance. It means resisting the siren call of the failed tombstone politics of yesterday, which sadly still pervades too much of our party. 

“[This] politics has created an atmosphere of toxicity and poison in many of our branches, where the stain of abuse, bullying, intolerance and antisemitism has become all too commonplace.”

Commenting on his decision, council leader Grace Williams said Cllr Miller had “worked to improve the borough for all residents tirelessly since 2014”, adding that “his legacy will be enjoyed many generations to come”.

She said: “He has been an incredibly talented and proactive cabinet member and his decision will be a loss to both the Labour Party and the council.

“However, I completely understand his decision to refocus his priorities. Personally, he has been excellent friend and a great source of support.

“I have asked Simon to remain on Cabinet until May and I know that Simon will play an important role in the future of the Labour Party.”

Other sitting Labour councillors who did not apply to run this year include former leader Clare Coghill and one of Cllr Miller’s two fellow ward councillors for Leyton: Jacob Edwards.

Also not running are: Joe Lacey-Holland, siblings Asim Mahmood and Saima Mahmud, Ros Flowers and Patrick Edwards. 

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