Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Leader of Islington Council and Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Deputy Leader of Islington Council
Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Leader of Islington Council and Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Deputy Leader of Islington Council

Last night (Thursday 20th May), Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz was officially elected Leader of Islington Council.

Following the decision of Richard Watts to stand down as Leader of Islington Labour Group and the Council, Kaya’s fellow Labour councillors elected her as the new Leader in March.

Having been born and raised in Archway, and represented Junction ward since 2013, Kaya has been Deputy Leader of the Council since 2020. She has served on the Council Executive for nearly six years as the Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families, and before that covering Community Development.

In Kaya’s speech to Annual Council, she thanked Richard for his time as Leader, as well as setting out her focus as Leader; opening up opportunities for Islington’s young people, tackling the inequalities in our society and making our borough a healthier place for all. You can see Kaya’s full speech here.

In Kaya’s first act as Leader, she has made Cllr Diarmaid Ward the new Deputy Leader of Islington Council. Diarmaid has been a ward councillor in Holloway since 2014 and has been the Executive Member for Housing and Development since 2016, overseeing the largest council house building programme in the borough in a generation. Before being appointed to the Council’s executive, he worked as a legal aid solicitor, specialising in criminal defence.

Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Leader of Islington Council, said:

“It is an honour to be elected as the Leader of Islington Council. This borough has always been my home, I love it and think it’s the best place in the country.


“I am also incredibly proud to be the first Black Woman to become Leader of Islington Council, but this has been no easy journey and too many in our community are held back because of the inequality that blights our society.


“As Leader, I am determined to continue Islington Labour’s work to make our borough a fairer place, protecting the most vulnerable, reducing poverty and tackling injustice in our borough.”

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Deputy Leader of Islington Council, said:

“Kaya has the values, guts and vision to stand up for our borough. I know that she will be a superb council leader.


“I am excited to get started as Deputy Leader of the Council. We have an important but difficult time ahead of us, ensuring Islington recovers from the pandemic in a fairer, more equal way, building more genuinely affordable homes for local people and creating a cleaner, greener safer borough.”

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