Councillors and locals react to new Kingston Council leader Andreas Kirsch

Kingston councillors and residents have welcomed the council’s new leader, Liberal Democrat Andreas Kirsch, though some called for more collaboration with locals and opposing councillors. 

Kirsch, ward councillor for Chessington South and Malden Rushett, took the reins on Tuesday, following Caroline Kerr’s resignation as leader of Kingston Council last week.

Kerr said: “I’m very excited to see Cllr Andreas Kirsch elected as our new leader and give him my complete support. I will continue to work closely with him.”

Sarah Olney, MP for Richmond Park, said: “Cllr Andreas Kirsch will be a great leader of Kingston Council, and I’m sure that he will continue the great work of Cllr Kerr. Only the Kingston Lib Dems have a positive vision for the future of our borough and Cllr Kirsch has my full support.”

Opposing council members wished Kirsch well but were sceptical whether he would bring about positive change to Kingston and surrounds.

Green party councillor Sharron Sumner said: “He is very much the continuity candidate, so I am expecting very little change…perhaps we’ll see a more collaborative approach from him.” 

Some locals said they were wary of Kirsch’s leadership. 

Retired borough party secretary and ward secretary Chris Stephens said: “The new Leader is a complete unknown, and it was quite noticeable that most of the existing leading lights simply didn’t want the job.”

In reference to the borough elections taking place in May 2022, Stephens said: “He only has seven months to get his act together and avoid a disaster.” 

Retired golf green keeper Leslie Jones, 67, said: “All I want from [the] new leader is they be open and upfront, consult residents, listen to their concerns, and decide in the open any decisions taken.” 

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