Council Leader Stuns Meeting By Announcing Departure

Steve Curran says he will not be seeking re-election due to illness

Steve Curran announcing that he is standing down. Picture: YouTube

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Steve Curran, the leader of Hounslow Council, made the surprise announcement at this Tuesday (1 March) Council meeting that he would not be seeking re-election.

The news, which shocked many attending the meeting, came towards the beginning of proceedings.

He thanked 'all councillors, comrades, officers and members of the public for their support". He described the job as 'difficult and lonely' but said he had been proud to serve the borough since 2010. He added the thing that made him proudest was how 'all in this room' had got the borough through the pandemic.

He also stressed the achievement of building of council homes also had given him great satisfaction mention a young mother who had cried when she had first seen the new home she had been provided with by council.

A range of tributes was paid to him from both Labour and Conservative councillors with many even on the opposition benches describing him as a good friend. Cllr Ron Mushiso said he looked forward to joining him on the touchline to watch Richmond Rugby Club.

While praising him, his ward colleague Katherine Dunne said he was a 'marmite figure' that some people disliked but that he was the hardest working councillor she had even known and had been a great support to her.

The one dissenting voice was Cllr Theo Dennison who condemned him for the damage he had done to the Labour Party saying that 'it is with absolutely no regret that I welcome his resignation". Cllr Dennison then announced that he was resigning from Labour Group and the party over concerns that he had over way Cllr Curran had controlled the candidate selection process.

In a statement issued as the meeting was taking place he said, “Due to illness and after discussions with my family and friends, I have made the decision not to stand in the forthcoming local elections in May of this year. As you can imagine this has been a very difficult decision to make.

“It has been an honour and privilege to have served the residents of Hounslow since I was elected as a Councillor for Syon ward in 2010. When I became Leader of the Council in 2014, we set ambitious targets to provide high quality education, build new Council homes and protect the most vulnerable, particularly the young and the old. I believe that this Council has done that.

“I am also very proud of the Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It showed not only the Council at its best but more importantly it showed the enormous community spirit in Hounslow, whether that was in Chiswick, Brentford, Hounslow or Feltham. Individual residents, community groups, volunteers and businesses all came together to support and help others in the most difficult of circumstances. I believe as we near the end of this administration it has never been more fit for purpose to face the challenges ahead.

“I would like to thank councillors, officers of the Council, and all those who have worked tirelessly for the borough. Our partners, the NHS, the Metropolitan Police Service, Hounslow Chamber of Commerce and the Voluntary sector have all faced similar and significant challenges but the relationship with the Council has gone from strength to strength.

“I would like to wish everyone all the best for the future.”

Brentford and Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury said on Twitter, "Steve has been an amazing leader of @LBofHounslow He gets things done, and despite all the pressures Councils are under, has taken LBH to be awarded LGC Council of the Year His standing down is a big loss to us all."

There had earlier been speculation that a leadership challenge was being planned following the election result after some of his key allys' failure to be re-selected as councillors in the recent round of candidate selection contests. It was being anticipated that a rival challenger would have been able to gain enough votes to take over the leadership when the newly elected councillors took a vote in May.

He will remain as leader of the council until 10 May when the new councillors are in place following the election.

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March 8, 2022

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