Clare Coghill will become leader of Waltham Forest council in May after she was elected as the new chief of the borough’s Labour group.

Cllr Coghill defeated Cllr Nadeem Ali and Cllr Gerry Lyons in a ballot of Labour councillors this evening (Thursday, January 5), receiving 30 of a possible 40 votes.

She will now become the first female council leader in the history of Waltham Forest and one of only eight women leading local authorities across London.

Cllr Coghill said: “It is a great privilege to be elected as Leader of the Labour group. The chance to serve our borough and build a community that is open, tolerant and fair is one that I relish.

“The council I lead will prioritise smashing down barriers for our young people, supporting vulnerable residents and building good quality social housing.

“We must unite to tackle the problems of hate crime, intolerance and ignorance that mean that even in 2017, people attack one another for being different – whether that’s gender, sexuality, race or faith.

“Over the past six years - under drastic financial constraints - Waltham Forest has made tremendous progress.

“As leader I will look to maintain this progress and continue the improvement to services that residents expect.

“I look forward to working with residents and colleagues to make this vision a reality.”

Cllr Coghill will take over from current leader Chris Robbins, who announced he would step down from the role last month after almost eight years in the top job.

Cllr Robins will remain leader until May, when Cllr Coghill will be nominated and formally confirmed as the new leader at the council’s AGM.