Gazette letters: Deputy mayor, zebra crossing, Assembly elections

Cllr James Murray

Cllr James Murray - Credit: Archant

What better way for Sadiq Khan to honour his pre-election promise not to place “political cronies” in senior mayoral positions than by appointing the Green Party’s Sian Berry as deputy mayor for housing? writes Meg Howarth, Ellington Street, Islington.

The Greens came third in the elections – an achievement that shouldn’t be underestimated – and Ms Berry is one of the party’s two new London Assembly members (Islington councillor Caroline Russell the other).

In the run-up to the May 5 vote, rumours had been circulating that another Islington councillor, Labour’s executive member for housing, James Murray, had been tipped for the deputy-mayoral job. The post is a political appointment, not an electoral one, and is, therefore, in Mayor Khan’s gift. As the new mayor told a national newspaper over the weekend, “the key thing for me is to tackle the housing crisis.”

Not only was Ms Berry elected to the Assembly – unlike Barnsbury-ward Cllr Murray who wasn’t even a candidate – but in the view of the respected social-housing magazine Inside Housing she won the National Housing Federation hustings’ debate. The Lib Dems’ Caroline Pidgeon – re-elected to the Assembly – came second. James Murray, standing in for Mr Khan in what some saw as a trial run for the housing job, was third.

Political patronage is never a good look. Appointing Ms Berry would clearly signal the “inclusive” politics about which the new mayor has spoken. As Mr Khan has said, “we don’t win elections by just talking to people who already vote Labour”. Indeed not.

A zebra crossing is needed at Highbury Barn, writes Stephanie Palmer, Living Streets, Islington branch.

Last year in June, Islington Living Streets presented a petition to Islington Council asking for a zebra crossing to be installed between Leigh Road and Highbury Hill (Church Path).

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Pedestrians find crossing at this point is far from easy as traffic can come from any of five different directions.

Not only is it very hard for an adult to deal with safely but many children from the two large local schools also need to cross there.

Some time ago we were told the council would do a feasibility study on the potential crossing but we are still waiting to hear from them.

Surely there should be some feeling of urgency to protect pedestrians of all ages at this dangerous place?

Great to see Labour win the mayoral elections as they are not in government and political balance is always good for the electorate, writes Michael McEligott, Amwell street, Islington.

Before the elections, we were promised a raft of changes and informed of how things could change for the better.

The problem is that this is just their pledges and, unfortunately, there is no way to get rid of them should they omit some of their pledges.

Let’s hope the mayor does not become a nightmare for those who voted for him on housing, health and London’s general well being.

Last week’s London elections have seen a fundamental change in London’s political landscape, writes Caroline Russell, Green Party London Assembly Member and councillor for Highbury East.

We have a new Mayor, a new Assembly and a new future for London.

I am very proud of the Green Party’s resolutely positive and successful campaign that has resulted in two seats on the London Assembly and which cemented the Greens as the capital’s third party.

Now Sian Berry and I have been sworn in at City Hall, the work really begins and we will be pushing for action to clean up our filthy air, to make our streets better for walking and cycling and to ensure estate regeneration and other housing schemes are focused on our communities and not just the profits of developers.

As a member of the London Assembly, I will work to represent all Londoners and listen to their concerns and ideas to make this city a better place to live, work and visit. I am glad Londoners rejected the divisive Conservative Party campaign and I look forward to working with other progressive parties in City Hall.

However I will also still be representing Highbury East as a councillor, and will continue to be the only elected voice of opposition in Islington, working to hold the council here to account. My door, phone and social media contacts will all stay open to local constituents.

Finally, congratulations to Samir Jeraj for coming a strong third for the Greens in the North East constituency, and a big thank you to the many people who voted Green and to the dozens of volunteers who helped with the Green Party election campaign in Islington.