Councillor set to become first Black female deputy leader in Islington

Kaya Comer-Schwartz. Picture: Islington Council

Kaya Comer-Schwartz. - Credit: Islington Council

An Islington councillor is set to make history by becoming the first Black woman appointed deputy leader in the borough.

Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz will take over from Cllr Janet Burgess in deputising for leader Cllr Richard Watts.

Cllr Burgess has stepped down from this role, which she filled for seven years, and as the executive member for health and social care position.

However, she will continue representing Junction ward.

Cllr Comer-Schwartz was born and raised in the borough, was first elected a local councillor in 2013 and has most recently been executive member for children, young people and families.

READ MORE: How Cllr Comer-Schwartz’s grandad survived Nazi concentration camp“Islington is a wonderfully diverse borough, but I know that many in our community face profound challenges and injustice,” she said.

“As a woman of African heritage, it’s both a huge privilege and responsibility to serve Islington and help shape its future.

“I remain determined to fight to end inequality and injustice. I’m passionate about improving opportunities for local people – especially our children and young people – and making Islington the best possible place to grow up, live and work in.”

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Cllr Comer-Schwartz’s professional background is in the charity sector, previously working at the Centre for Mental Health, Shelter and World Jewish Relief.

She is currently chair of Islington’s Youth Justice and Corporate Parenting boards; sits on London Councils’ crime and community safety and children’s leads committees and the Dame Alice Owen Foundation advisory group; and is a member of the Archway Town Centre Group.

The appointment will be noted at the annual council meeting on September 24.

Cllr Nurullah Turan will become the new executive member for health and social care, leaving his post as chair of the council’s licensing regulatory committee.

Additionally, Cllr Sue Lukes has been appointed head of a new portfolio, community safety, to oversee the coronavirus response, policing, public protection, and hate crime, tackle domestic violence and abuse, support survivors and champion victims of crime.

Cllr Lukes leaves her positions as vice-chair of both the housing scrutiny and audit committees.