The leader of the Havering Residents Association (HRA) has been elected as council leader with the help of the borough’s Labour group.
Councillor Ray Morgon was elected Wednesday night following extensive negotiations in the aftermath of the local elections on 5 May, which saw the borough end up in a state of no overall control.
Morgon is the first Residents’ Association leader since Louise Sinclair in 1996 and marks the end of a 20-year long reign for the Conservatives.
Morgon said: “I’ve been a bit overwhelmed in the last 36 hours. All the emails, the text messages and phone calls congratulating me and wishing me well for the future.
“It’s very humbling I must admit.”
The independent HRA picked up 23 seats on election night, the same as the Conservatives, and Labour gained ground, ending up on nine.
With no party reaching the 28-seat threshold for full control, the independent group and Labour struck a deal.
Morgon said he found it satisfying to beat the Conservatives this time around.
His victory makes Havering one of only two London boroughs, along with Tower Hamlets, not to be controlled by a mainstream political party.
He added: “We made history on Wednesday night with the election of myself.
“I believe that in four years time the people of Havering will say this council has vastly improved on the previous one.”
He wants those who feel reservations about his election to know that he is known for his reputation of doing things in the area.
In the next year, he will focus on improving the environment by making it safer.
One of the key election issues in Havering was over development and he wants to push back on over developed areas.
Morgon expressed that there is a lack of focus on the supporting infrastructure and the public services, such as doctors and police that you need with a growing population.
Going forward he wants to improve the customer experience within the council as many residents have complained in the past about not being able to get through to anyone on the other end of the phone.
Morgon added that he doesn’t have any plans to celebrate the win this weekend.
He said: “I’m the same Ray Morgon that I was three weeks ago but I now have a position with greater responsibility.”
He intends to carry out this new role to the best of his abilities to do more for people in Havering.