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Woman and man smartly dressed looking towards the camera. They are local councillors Blerina Hashini and Peter Mason

New addition for cabinet

Ealing Council has a new cabinet member as part of a reshuffle after the recent elections to the London Assembly resulted in a longstanding member stepping down to take up a new role.

Councillor Blerina Hashani will take up the portfolio of cabinet member for thriving communities.

She is believed to be the country’s first cabinet member of Kosovar heritage. Councillor Hashani was elected to represent North Acton ward in 2022. She is a public policy professional and has previously worked in Parliament and for a national cultural institution.

Council leader Peter Mason said: “Councillor Blerina Hashani joins the cabinet to take on responsibility for key projects, like our new state of the art leisure centre at Gurnell, launching our new plan for cultural infrastructure and venues as well as our progress toward becoming a Borough of Sanctuary.

“Like many families in our borough who have had to endure and experience the injustice of fleeing war and as a refugee, Councillor Hashani’s own experience of asylum from the 1999 Kosovo war will be invaluable to the council as we continue to build a welcoming, fair and equal London.”

Proud to serve

Councillor Hashani said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the new cabinet member for thriving communities.

“This exciting portfolio is focused on bringing people together, and I look forward to working with colleagues to continue to deliver on our manifesto pledges.

“My focus remains putting the community power that already exists within the heart of each of our 7 towns into everything we do, as we are doing through our Your Voice Your Town initiative. I also look forward to delivering on our pledge for well-loved community facilities, including a new leisure centre at Gurnell.

“I am especially proud to be able to support our work as a Borough of Sanctuary. We will build on work that’s already been done to ensure refugees and asylum seekers are welcomed and supported when they arrive in our borough.’’

Our new London Assembly member

Councillor Hashani’s appointment follows Councillor Bassam Mahfouz’s election to the London Assembly for the Ealing and Hillingdon constituency. He was elected in the London-wide elections on 4 May, so is to step down from his current position on Ealing Council as cabinet member for safe and genuinely affordable housing after 2 years in the role – and many years in other cabinet positions before that.

However, Councillor Mahfouz will remain as a ward councillor for Northolt West End.

Councillor Mason said: “I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to Councillor Mahfouz for his dedication and service to the borough. Whether guiding the council’s finances during the worst years of government-mandated austerity; ensuring the smooth introduction of the borough’s wheelie bins; or, most recently, leading the charge to secure 10,000 new, decent jobs; Bassam’s impact will continue well beyond his time in cabinet.

“As our new member of the London Assembly, I wish him every success in championing the needs of both Ealing and Hillingdon at City Hall”. 

Cabinet reshuffle

Following the departure of Councillor Mahfouz, the cabinet positions have been reshuffled as follows:

  • Councillor Louise Brett takes up the mantle as cabinet member for safe and genuinely affordable homes with Councillor Kamaljit Nagpal, formerly cabinet member for a fairer start taking on Councillor Brett’s former cabinet post of decent living incomes
  • Councillor Josh Blacker now takes on responsibility for a fairer start moving over from adult social care and public health
  • Councillor Polly Knewstub moves from thriving communities to a newly titled portfolio called healthy equal lives, which covers adult social care, public health and equalities

The cabinet in full is now:

  • Leader of the council Councillor Peter Mason
  • Deputy leader and climate action Councillor Deirdre Costigan
  • Tackling crime and antisocial behaviour Councillor Jasbir Anand
  • Inclusive economy Councillor Steve Donnelly
  • Good growth and new homes Councillor Shital Manro
  • Decent living incomes Councillor Kamaljit Nagpal
  • A fairer start Councillor Josh Blacker
  • Safe and genuinely affordable homes Councillor Louise Brett
  • Healthy, equal lives Councillor Polly Knewstub
  • Thriving communities Councillor Blerina Hashani
  • Councillor Gareth Shaw continues to attend cabinet as the council’s chief whip

The new cabinet portfolios and portfolios will come into effect following the annual full council meeting on Tuesday 21 May.

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