Havering London Borough Council
Coat of arms
Council logo
Founded1 April 1965
Gerry O'Sullivan,
Havering Residents Association
since 22 May 2024[1]
Ray Morgon,
Havering Residents Association
since 25 May 2022
Andrew Blake-Herbert
since 31 March 2016[2]
Seats55 Councillors
Political groups
Administration (26)
  Havering RA (26)
Other parties (29)
  Conservative (16)
  Labour (8)
  East Havering RG (3)
  Independent (2)
  • Adjudication and Review
  • Audit
  • Governance
  • Highways Advisory
  • Licensing
  • Pensions
  • Regulatory Services
Joint committees
Thames Chase Joint Committee
Thames Gateway London Partnership
East London Waste Authority
London Councils
Length of term
Whole council elected every four years
Last election
5 May 2022
Next election
7 May 2026
Meeting place
Havering Town Hall
Havering Town Hall, Main Road, Romford, RM1 3BB

Havering London Borough Council, also known as Havering Council, is the local authority for the London Borough of Havering in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council, one of 32 in London. The council has been under no overall control since 2014; after the 2022 election, it was run by a coalition of the Havering Residents Association and Labour; since 2024, it has been run solely by the HRA. The council is based at Havering Town Hall in Romford.


The London Borough of Havering and its council were created under the London Government Act 1963, with the first election held in 1964. For its first year the council acted as a shadow authority alongside the area's two outgoing authorities, being the borough council of Romford and the urban district council of Hornchurch. The new council formally came into its powers on 1 April 1965, at which point the old districts and their councils were abolished.[3][4] The council's full legal name is "The Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Havering".[5]

From 1965 until 1986 the council was a lower-tier authority, with upper-tier functions provided by the Greater London Council. The split of powers and functions meant that the Greater London Council was responsible for "wide area" services such as fire, ambulance, flood prevention, and refuse disposal; with the boroughs (including Havering) responsible for "personal" services such as social care, libraries, cemeteries and refuse collection. As an outer London borough council Havering has been a local education authority since 1965. The Greater London Council was abolished in 1986 and its functions passed to the London Boroughs, with some services provided through joint committees.[6]

Since 2000 the Greater London Authority has taken some responsibility for highways and planning control from the council, but within the English local government system the council remains a "most purpose" authority in terms of the available range of powers and functions.[7]

In September 2023, the leader of the council warned the authority could be six months away from triggering a Section 114 notice because of the increasing cost of social care and housing.[8][9] The council managed to set a budget in 2024, but only through relying on an exceptional £54 million loan from the government.[10]

Powers and functions

The local authority derives its powers and functions from the London Government Act 1963 and subsequent legislation, and has the powers and functions of a London borough council. It sets council tax and as a billing authority also collects precepts for Greater London Authority functions plus levies on behalf of the East London Waste Authority, the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and others.[11][12] It sets planning policies which complement Greater London Authority and national policies, and decides on almost all planning applications accordingly. It is a local education authority and is also responsible for council housing, social services, libraries, waste collection and disposal, traffic, and most roads and environmental health.[13]

Political control

The council has been under no overall control since 2014.

The first election was held in 1964, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until it came into its powers on 1 April 1965. Political control of the council since 1965 has been as follows:[14]

Party in control Years
No overall control 1965–1968
Conservative 1968–1971
Labour 1971–1974
No overall control 1974–1978
Conservative 1978–1986
No overall control 1986–2006
Conservative 2006–2014
No overall control 2014–present


See also: List of mayors of Havering

The role of mayor in Havering is largely ceremonial, usually being held by a different councillor each year. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 1965 have been:[15][16]

Councillor Image Party From To
Jack Moultrie Conservative 1965 1971
Michael Ward Labour 1971 1974
Jack Moultrie Conservative 1974 1977
William Sibley Conservative 1977 1978
Jack Moultrie Conservative 1978 1984
Roger Ramsey Conservative 1984 1990
Arthur Latham Labour 1990 1996
Louise Sinclair Residents' Association 1996 1997
Wilf Mills Labour 1997 1998
Ray Harris Labour 1998 2002
Eric Munday Conservative 2002 2004
Michael White Conservative 2004 29 Jan 2014
Steven Kelly Conservative 29 Jan 2004 11 Jun 2014
Roger Ramsey Conservative 11 Jun 2014 23 May 2018
Damian White Conservative 23 May 2018 25 May 2022
Ray Morgon Havering Residents Association 25 May 2022


Following the 2022 election, a subsequent by-election and changes of allegiance up to June 2024, the composition of the council is:

Party Councillors
Havering Residents Association 26
Conservative 16
Labour 8
Residents Association 3
Independent 2
Total 55
Progression of administration and party totals
Date Event Administration HRA* Con Lab EHRG RAIG Ind** Vacant
5 May 2022 2022 Havering London Borough Council election 19 23 9 3 1
25 May 2022 Ray Morgon (HRA) becomes council leader in HRA/Labour coalition[17] 29
9 September 2022 Sarah Edwards, Sue Ospreay and Jackie McArdle (all Con) defect to HRA[18] 31 22 20
19 May 2023 Linda Hawthorn (HRA) dies[19] 30 21 1
10 August 2023 Jacqueline Williams (HRA) wins Upminster by-election[20] 31 22
30 January 2024 Robby Misir (Con) defects to HRA[21] 32 23 19
24 February 2024 Philip Ruck (HRA) and John Tyler (Ind) form the Residents' Association Independent Group[22] 31 22 2
29 April 2024 Philippa Crowder, John Crowder and Christine Smith (all Con) defect to HRA[23] 34 25 16
31 May 2024 Paul McGeary (Lab) defects to HRA[24] 26 8
3 June 2024 HRA forms single-party administration[25] 26

* The HRA is a group of residents' associations and some HRA candidates run under local residents association labels. The HRA members of the council include Graham Williamson who is also a member of the National Liberal Party.

** John Tyler was elected under the Cranham and Upminster Residents Association label and never sat with the Havering Residents Association group in the council. When Philip Ruck left the HRA in February 2024, the two formed the Residents Association Independent Group.

Following the 2022 election, the council remained under no overall control with the Conservatives remaining the largest party but still shy of a majority. After weeks of negotiations, and following Labour's rejection of a confidence and supply arrangement,[26] a coalition arrangement was reached between the HRA and Labour which saw Ray Morgon appointed Leader of the Council with a majority HRA cabinet and a minority of Labour members.[17] John Tyler, residents association councillor for Cranham, announced he would not join HRA Group in the weeks after the coalition was formed, stating that bringing national party politics into local governemnt was "fundamentally against [his] principles".[27]

In September 2022, three Conservative councillors jointly announced they were joining the HRA due to a lack of support from their party after the July wildfires in Wennington.[18] The death of HRA councillor Linda Hawthorn in May 2023 saw a by-election in Upminster where the group kept their seat.[20] In January 2024, Conservative councillor Robby Misir joined the HRA[21] having criticised his former party's local leader Keith Prince over a debate about school transport.[28] Three more Conservative councillors defected to the HRA in late April.[23]

On 22 May 2024, at the annual meeting of the full council, the HRA elected their own councillor Gerry O'Sullivan to be the ceremonial Mayor of Havering. This came as a shock to the Labour Group which expected their outgoing Deputy Mayor Patricia Brown to be elected mayor as is tradition.[29] Labour councillor Trevor McKeever described it as breaking the coalition agreement and local Labour leader Keith Darvill described it as a breach of trust. Patricia Brown herself said that "HRA members have demonstrated time and again over the past two years that self-service comes before working together for the benefit of residents".[30] For its part, the HRA disagreed and stated that their was nothing on the mayoralty included in their agreement.[31] During the meeting, Labour councillor Paul McGeary abstained on voting for Labour's candidates for the mayoralty and for the chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board, with him defecting to the HRA just over a week later.[24] With only Labour leader Keith Darvill left representing his party in the cabinet, the HRA decided on 3 June 2024 to end the agreement and govern as a minority administration.[25] Darvill criticised the HRA for "populism and empty gesture petty politics".[32] Council leader Ray Morgon told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the end was "inevitable" but had "expected there’d be a rift next year" and Darvill similarly stated that he had "expected it".[33]


See also: Havering London Borough Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2022 the council has comprised 55 councillors representing 20 wards, with each ward electing two or three councillors. Elections are held every four years.[34]

As part of the process of reviewing the boundaries leading up to the 2022 changes, there were accusations that the Conservative administration was attempting to gerrymander the new boundaries. The council's then leader, Damian White, was secretly recorded outlining plans to modify ward boundaries to the advantage of the party. White reportedly said the Local Government Boundary Commission had so few staff it was "highly unlikely they'll put in the effort" to scrutinise the changes and that "they only look at what was discussed... at the full council meeting. So there will be only one option."[35] Following the emergence of the recording there was a local outcry. The Local Government Boundary Commission consequently revised its proposals for the new wards and carried out further public consultation, which led to notable changes in the final boundaries from the earlier draft proposals.[36]


The council is based at Havering Town Hall on Main Road in Romford, which was completed in 1937 as 'Romford Town Hall' for the old Romford Urban District Council. It was formally opened on 16 September 1937, on which day Romford was also presented with its charter of incorporation turning the urban district into a borough.[37] The building was subsequently extended in 1960 and 1988.[38] In May 2024, the town hall experienced an arson attack, damaging the property but not leading to any injuries or loss of data.[39]


The current composition of Havering Council's Cabinet is as follows.

Party key Havering Residents Association
Post Councillor Ward
Mayor and Deputy Mayor
Mayor of Havering Gerry O'Sullivan St Andrews
Deputy Mayor of Havering Sue Ospreay Rainham & Wennington
Cabinet members
Leader of the Council Ray Morgon Hacton
Deputy Leader of the Council

Cabinet Member for Adults and Wellbeing

Gillian Ford Cranham
Cabinet Member for Children and Young People Oscar Ford Upminster
Cabinet Member for Housing and Property Paul McGreary Gooshays
Cabinet Member for Digital, Transformation and Customer Services Paul Middleton St Andrews
Cabinet Member for Environment Barry Mugglestone Elm Park
Cabinet Member for Housing Need Natasha Summers South Hornchurch
Cabinet Member for Finance Christopher Wilkins Upminster
Cabinet Member for Regeneration Graham Williamson South Hornchurch


  1. ^ "Havering's new Mayor appointed at Full Council meeting in shock move by HRA". The Havering Daily. 23 May 2024. Retrieved 25 May 2024.
  2. ^ "Council minutes, 30 March 2016". Havering Council. Retrieved 14 April 2024.
  3. ^ "London Government Act 1963", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1978 c. 33, retrieved 16 May 2024
  4. ^ Youngs, Frederic (1979). Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England. Vol. I: Southern England. London: Royal Historical Society. ISBN 0-901050-67-9.
  5. ^ "Inter Authority Agreement for the Local London Partnership Programme" (PDF). Havering Council. 2023. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  6. ^ "Local Government Act 1985", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1985 c. 51, retrieved 5 April 2024
  7. ^ Leach, Steve (1998). Local Government Reorganisation: The Review and its Aftermath. Routledge. p. 107. ISBN 978-0714648590.
  8. ^ Rudgewick, Oliver (28 September 2023). "London borough at risk of S114 this year". Public Finance. Retrieved 30 September 2023.
  9. ^ Mellor, Josh (28 September 2023). "Havering could be 'six months' away from 'bankruptcy' notice". Romford Recorder. Retrieved 30 September 2023.
  10. ^ Mendonca, Susana (29 February 2024). "Havering Council secures £54m government help to avoid going bust". BBC News. Retrieved 14 April 2024.
  11. ^ "Council Tax Booklet 2022-2023". Havering London Borough Council. Retrieved 30 September 2023.
  12. ^ "Council Tax and Business Rates Billing Authorities". Council Tax Rates. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Local Plan Responses – within and outside London". Mayor of London. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  15. ^ "Council minutes". Havering Council. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  16. ^ "London Boroughs Political Almanac". London Councils. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  17. ^ a b Newsdesk (27 May 2022). "Labour team up with Havering Residents Association to elect independent council leader". North East Londoner. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  18. ^ a b "Ex-Conservative councillors defend defection: 'Not for money or positions, solely for principle'". Romford Recorder. 13 September 2022. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  19. ^ "Upminster councillor dies after serving community for more than 30 years". Romford Recorder. 22 May 2023. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  20. ^ a b Babidge, Darren. "Upminster By-Election 2023: Havering Council live results". www.havering.gov.uk. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  21. ^ a b Dailiy, The Havering (30 January 2024). "Former Conservative Councillor joins Residents Association stating-'I can see no future for that Conservative group in the running of Havering Council.'". The Havering Daily. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  22. ^ "Open Council Data UK - compositions councillors parties wards elections emails". opencouncildata.co.uk. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  23. ^ a b Mann, Sebastian (29 April 2024). "Three Tory councillors defect to Havering Residents Association as group nears majority". Yellow Advertiser. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  24. ^ a b Daily, The Havering (31 May 2024). "Harold Hill Labour Councillor joins HRA-'I want to work in the best interests of Harold Hill and the Borough as a whole."". The Havering Daily. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  25. ^ a b Daily, The Havering (3 June 2024). "BREAKING: Havering Residents Association Cuts Ties with Labour". The Havering Daily. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  26. ^ "'Impasse': Deadline looms over Havering parties struggling to agree to coalition after election". Romford Recorder. 17 May 2022. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  27. ^ "Councillor leaves HRA group on council over Labour agreement". Romford Recorder. 24 June 2022. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  28. ^ "Council officer fears 'Jackie Weaver moment' in school transport cuts debate row". Romford Recorder. 22 January 2024. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  29. ^ Dailiy, The Havering (23 May 2024). "Havering's new Mayor appointed at Full Council meeting in shock move by HRA". The Havering Daily. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  30. ^ Dailiy, The Havering (23 May 2024). "A breach of trust-Havering Residents Association fail to keep their word". The Havering Daily. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  31. ^ Daily, The Havering (23 May 2024). "'It's disappointing to see game playing by Labour colleagues over the Havering Mayoralty'-HRA". The Havering Daily. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  32. ^ Dailiy, The Havering (5 June 2024). "'A direction we cannot follow'-Havering political split". The Havering Daily. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  33. ^ "Council coalition collapses after weeks of uncertainty". Romford Recorder. 5 June 2024. Retrieved 8 June 2024.
  34. ^ "The London Borough of Havering (Electoral Changes) Order 2021", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 2021/1053, retrieved 14 April 2024
  35. ^ Private Eye, Issue 1527, p.21
  36. ^ Thomson, Charles (13 May 2021). "Havering electoral wards face axe as borough is split into 20 areas". Romford Recorder. Retrieved 15 April 2024.
  37. ^ "The Lord Mayor of London, Sir George Broadbridge inspecting a guard of honour at Romford". Alamy. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  38. ^ Historic England. "Havering Town Hall (Grade II) (1245551)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 April 2024.
  39. ^ Taylor, William. "Havering Council statement: Arson attack at the Town Hall". www.havering.gov.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2024.