New Leader of the Opposition in Greenwich

Greenwich Conservatives have unanimously elected Cllr Matt Hartley as the new Leader of the Opposition in the Royal Borough, with Cllr Mark Elliott elected Deputy Leader and Cllr Geoff Brighty re-elected as Opposition Whip.  

Hartley, who represents Coldharbour and New Eltham ward, follows Councillor Spencer Drury as Leader after the Eltham North councillor served nine years in the role.  He was elected by fellow councillors to lead the Conservative Group just days after the General Election, in which he stood for Parliament in Greenwich & Woolwich securing the best result for the Conservatives since the constituency was created in 1997.

Over the last four years the 29-year-old has played a leading role in local Conservatives’ campaigns in the borough, including local councillors’ efforts to regenerate The Mound shopping parade on the Coldharbour estate and his ‘Sort It, Southeastern’ consumer campaign to improve Southeastern trains.  In the council chamber, earlier this year he successfully secured a new Living Wage Incentive Scheme to tackle low pay in the borough.  Away from politics, he works for a national advice charity, and also serves as a governor of Ealdham Primary School and a director of the local credit union.

Cllr Mark Elliott, who replaces Hartley as Deputy Leader of the Opposition, was elected to represent Eltham South ward in 2014 and has led the local Conservatives’ work on education for more than five years.  He lives in New Eltham and serves as Chair of Governors at Horn Park Primary School.

Speaking after his election, Cllr Matt Hartley said: “I am delighted and honoured to have the opportunity to lead our Conservative councillors in Greenwich, and provide the strong, constructive opposition that this borough so badly needs.  I look forward to building on Spencer Drury’s hard work over nine years, and am confident that as a council group we will continue to punch above our weight.

“With the threat of a Lewisham-style one party state always hanging over us, being Leader of the Opposition in Greenwich means more than leading the Conservative council group – but rather giving all residents with a differing view the voice and the say that they are so often denied by this Labour council.  That’s exactly what I plan to do.” 

New Deputy Leader Cllr Mark Elliott said: “I am looking forward to working with Matt to secure improvements to our wonderful borough, and working with the whole Conservative team in Greenwich to give residents the representation they deserve.”

Outgoing leader Cllr Spencer Drury added: “It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as Leader of the Opposition on Greenwich council over the last nine years.  I look forward to continuing to serve the residents of Eltham North and to working with Matt, Mark and the rest of our excellent team of Conservative councillors to continue to hold this Labour council to account.”

Greenwich Conservatives have also announced the following new spokesperson roles for the coming council year.

Leader of the Opposition - Cllr Matt Hartley
Deputy Leader of the Opposition - Cllr Mark Elliott
Opposition Whip - Cllr Geoff Brighty
Education and Culture spokesperson - Cllr Mark Elliott
Transport and Environment spokesperson - Cllr Matt Clare
Policing and Community Safety spokesperson - Cllr Spencer Drury
Health and Older People spokesperson - Cllr John Hills
Business and Anti-Poverty spokesperson - Cllr Nuala Geary
Council Services spokesperson - Cllr Mandy Brinkhurst