Kaya Comer-Schwartz set to become Islington Council's new leader

Kaya Comer-Schwartz. Picture: Islington Council

Kaya Comer-Schwartz. - Credit: Islington Council

Kaya Comer-Schwartz is set to take over from Richard Watts as leader of Islington Council when he steps down in May.

Cllr Comer-Schwartz, who is currently on maternity leave, was also named the new leader of Islington Labour Group on Wednesday night at its annual general meeting.

Cllr Watts announced his intention to hand over the reins at the annual council meeting on May 20 last month, and that he would not re-stand as leader of his party's group.

Cllr Comer-Schwartz was not challenged by any other councillors in the leadership race.

She has represented Junction ward since 2013, has been deputy leader of the council since 2020, and 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.

Before she joined the council executive, Cllr Comer-Schwartz worked in the charity sector, at the Centre for Mental Health charity which pushes for change in mental health policy and practice, homeless charity Shelter and The Women’s Library which focuses on women and the women's movement.

She expressed her pride at being elected to both the posts in the borough where she was born and has lived her whole life.

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She said: “I would like to thank Cllr Richard Watts for everything he has done for our borough during his time as leader.

"He has spearheaded some nationally pioneering work that has been transformative to our borough.

"On a personal note, I am grateful for the support he has shown me throughout my time as a councillor.

“As leader of the council, I believe Islington should be the best place to grow up in, with high-quality, innovative schools, services and spaces.

"Our borough needs to be a place where young people can be safe and thrive.

"Islington should be the best place to work and live in, with everyone deserving a safe, secure genuinely affordable home and a good, well-paid job.

"And Islington should be the best place to grow old in, with a greener, cleaner, healthier borough and top-quality, well-funded social care.

“I love Islington and will continue working hard to make our borough a fairer place by aspiring, improving and empowering Islington.”