New Speaker for Hackney

Hackney resident, ward Councillor for over a decade, and Deputy Speaker for the last twelve months, Councillor Jessica Webb has become the borough’s 113th civic representative after being elected Speaker of Hackney for 2012/13 at the Council’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 16 May.

Born in Stockport and raised in Bournemouth, Cllr Webb, 43, settled in south Hackney in 1998 where she lives with her husband and consort Mathew and their two children who attend Gainsborough School. She has represented the residents of Wick ward since winning a by-election in October 2000, a role which she describes as ‘extremely rewarding.’

Living a stone’s throw from the Olympic Park, she is excited about carrying out the role of Speaker in a truly ‘international year’ for the borough and the opportunities that the 2012 Games are bringing, she says, “We have an amazing year ahead. As Deputy Speaker, I have seen first hand the positive impact that the Games have already had on Hackney. Initiatives such as the Personal Bests programme are introducing children in our primary schools to new sports, and the range of cultural activities on offer this summer will be fantastic. I feel really privileged to be taking on the role of Speaker in a year when we can show the world what a fantastic borough we live in.”

Building on this global theme, she has chosen Amnesty International as one of two charities that she will support during her term as Speaker. The organisation, which has its headquarters in Shoreditch, fights to protect basic human rights and freedoms around the world. Reflecting on this choice, Cllr Webb says: “Hackney, with its incredible diversity, is a kind of distilled version of the world. We are lucky in that different communities here get on really well and there is a great tradition of respect and tolerance. It can be easy to forget that there are places where this isn’t the case and Amnesty works help people and communities who are persecuted for what they believe or simply for what they are.”

Her other chosen charity is Positive East, a support service for anyone affected by or living with HIV in East London and during her year as Speaker, Cllr Webb will be working to raise awareness of and fundraise for both organisations.
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For more information about the new Speaker, or if you want her to attend an event, call: 020 8356 3350; email: or write to: Speaker of Hackney, c/o The Speaker’s Office, Room 72, Hackney Town Hall, Mare Street, E8 1EA.