Oct 24 2012 By Ian Proctor
THE deputy leader of Harrow Council, Councillor Thaya Idaikkadar, has been chosen by Labour colleagues as new group leader and thereby becomes council leader-elect.
The outgoing leader, Headstone South ward councillor Bill Stephenson, announced at the end of September he was planning to step down after two-and-a-half years in post on health grounds and his successor would be decided.
Mr Idaikkadar was elected Labour group leader at a private Labour group meeting yesterday evening and will officially take over from Mr Stephenson at the full council meeting on November 8.
Mr Idaikkadar, a ward councillor for Roxeth and the current portfolio holder for property and major contracts, said: "I am immensely proud and honoured to hold this position and I am looking forward to taking this administration into the next election in 2014 and beyond.
This administration has numerous significant achievements to its name not least being named Best Achieving Council in the UK for 2011/2012 and fulfilling 90 per cent of our manifesto commitments for a four-year term in only two-and-a-half years.
I would like to congratulate Cllr Bill Stephenson who has led this administration with distinction. It will be difficult to fill the shoes of such a committed and inspirational leader."
Once in post, Mr Idaikkadar will consider who to appoint as deputy leader and to conduct a cabinet reschedule if necessary. Mr Stephenson will return to become a backbench councillor.
Councillor Susan Hall, leader of the Conservative opposition, said: "“I must congratulate Councillor Idaikkadar first of all, as being elected Leader is an enormous honour.
"However, he now has the ominous task of running a Labour Council which is in dire straits, with efficiencies and savings to be made, children’s services being the subject of highly worrying inspection reports, and portfolio holders putting champagne receptions ahead of job cuts."