Westminster City Council witnessed an historic first last night (May 15, 2019) as the local authority inaugurated its first-ever Labour Lord Mayor.
Councillor Ruth Bush stepped into the role as the City’s First Citizen at a ceremony in Old Marylebone Town Hall. She takes over from the incumbent Lord Mayor Cllr Lindsey Hall whose term has now officially ended.
For the next year Councillor Bush, who has represented the Harrow Road Ward since 2005, will undertake a packed programme of civic duties and ceremonial events and raise awareness for her chosen local charities, which this year will be:
In addition, she will support the Paddington Law Centre which offers residents free legal advice and casework.
Lord Mayor Councillor Bush said:
“I’m looking forward to what is already shaping up to be a very busy year.
“The charities I’ve chosen to support all do wonderful work for the City of Westminster.
“As we have seen in recent weeks, the environment has never been so much at the forefront of people’s minds and Westminster Tree Trust is symbolic of this wider global concern.
“All Sing! has to be there because I’ve been lucky to have always had music in my life and I know it can make life better, and people happier.”
She added that she also intends to promote STOMP: Speak To One More Person - a project encouraging people to enhance wellbeing across Westminster by talking to someone they don't already know.
As the new Lord Mayor – the 55th to hold the position - Cllr Bush has also set out plans to initiate a Westminster Rusty Players Orchestra.
Conservative Leader Cllr Nickie Aiken proposed offering the non-partisan role to the minority party last year.
Westminster has had an elected mayor since its creation as a Metropolitan Borough in 1900. When the borough became the City of Westminster in 1965, it had its first Lord Mayor – Sir Charles Norton.
The Lord Mayor of Westminster is the ceremonial, non-partisan and non-executive First Citizen of Westminster. Lord Mayors are elected annually from among Westminster’s councillors and chair Full Council meetings.
In addition, the Lord Mayor traditionally undertakes the following duties:
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About Cllr Ruth Bush
Her consorts – those to accompany her on civic duties – for the year will be her goddaughter, Foluke Gayle Hay; Dr Hannah Robbins, daughter of friends; and Thomas Bush, her nephew.
Ruth Bush has served on a number of Scrutiny Committees and has been a longstanding Planning Committee member.
She has been Chair of Westminster Faith Exchange, the council's connection with the City's faith organisations, a position she will retain as Lord Mayor.
Outside of the local authority she has held various jobs including community worker and teacher, running a hostel for homeless young women, and in Parliament.
She subsequently set up her own parliamentary consultancy working with smaller voluntary sector organisations.