Baroness Meral Ece OBE

  1. Baroness Meral Ece OBE
    Councillor for Mildmay Ward in Islington from 2002 to 2010, Liberal Democrats

    Baroness Meral Ece was first elected in 1994 – one of the first women from a Turkish speaking background to become a councillor in the UK - and served on Hackney Council for 8 years. She has been an Islington councillor since 2002 and has been awarded the OBE in the New Year Honours for her services to local government.

    Meral was Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care 2002-6, and has been Islington Council’s Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee since 2007. Meral was appointed by Party Leader Nick Clegg MP, as Special Adviser for Community Cohesion, and BME Communities. Meral never meant to enter local politics but as a school governor she was heavily involved in a campaign to lobby for a new school in Hackney and gained a real insight into how local politics worked. As a local community activist she was then asked to put herself forward as a candidate and her first hand experience made her realise that this was a role she could perform.

    She recognises that seeing someone from an ethnic community like herself on the council encourages other women to step forward and get engaged in local politics. She feels really strongly that women, particularly those from under-represented groups, must be better supported. She says 'I recognise that councillors from different backgrounds have a responsibility to help recruit and mentor other women to stand for election and become engaged in public life in the UK.'

    Meral has worked in the public sector for many years. She now works as a consultant working with local councils. Meral was the first Turkish female elected as a councillor in the UK.