Council Leader, Cllr Peter John, announces departure from Southwark

26 February 2020

Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council since 2010, has announced he will step down in March. At Council Assembly on Wednesday evening, Cllr John announced that his last day will be Wednesday 25th March, the date of the next Council Assembly meeting, when a new Leader will be elected.

Cllr John will also resign as Chair of London Councils on the same date. Cllr Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council, the Deputy Chair, will become the Acting Chair, and a new Chair will be elected at London Councils’ AGM in June.

In his resignation letter, Cllr John looked back over a decade of delivery as Leader, and thanked staff, residents and other colleagues for the huge contribution they have made to transforming Southwark into a borough of opportunity.

Cllr John said: “When I became Council Leader in 2010 I was determined that no resident should be left behind, and that everybody – whatever your age or background - should be able to benefit and take advantage of the changes and opportunities we were determined to create.  I also said that Southwark was 'open for business', and in spite of unprecedented cuts to our budget by government and tough economic circumstances we have managed to deliver positive growth and change across the borough – with major investment in every community.  From Blackfriars to Canada Water; Peckham to Elephant and Castle; Bermondsey to Old Kent Road; and London Bridge to Camberwell, that investment has brought 15,000 new homes; over 40,000 new jobs; over 5,000 new apprenticeships which we have helped to create as a council, and millions of square feet of new office and leisure space.

“At the same time we have been able to deliver flagship policies with the introduction of Free Healthy School Meals for all primary school children; free swim and gym use for all residents; scholarships paying the university tuition fees for over 100 young people from low income backgrounds; pioneering the London Living Wage and the Ethical Care Charter; our commitment to meet the needs of 100 per cent of children and young people with a mental health challenge; our ongoing support for widening the opportunities to enjoy culture and the arts and our work putting public health and social regeneration at the heart of all that we do as a council.

“Our decade of delivery would not have been possible without the support of fellow councillors, an amazing team of officers, and friends and partners right across Southwark and London.  I have always believed that we work best as a team, and that together we share responsibility for our successes and any failure.  Thank you for your part in helping to make Southwark such a borough of hope and opportunity.”

Chief Executive, Eleanor Kelly, said: “Peter has been an amazing Leader, colleague and friend and it has been an absolute honour to work alongside him as Chief Executive for the last ten years. Together, and with the support of our fantastic officers, councillors and partners, we have taken Southwark on an exciting journey over the last decade, truly transforming our borough into a great place to live, work or visit. On behalf of the whole council I wish Peter every success in whatever he does next. We will miss him but I know that the council will continue on our shared mission to deliver the very best and a fairer future for all Southwark residents.”

Page last updated: 27 February 2020