The Speaker

As the Council has a directly elected mayor with executive powers, the role of Speaker fulfils many of the ceremonial and public duties traditionally associated with the Mayor.

The Speaker of the Council is a serving councillor elected to the office for one year by fellow council members at their annual meeting.

They chair full council meetings, attend numerous events, welcome visitors to Hackney and preside over citizenship ceremonies.

The Speaker of Hackney is Councillor Michael Desmond. The Deputy Speaker is Councillor Humaira Garasia.

Speaker of Hackney - Councillor Michael Desmond
Speaker of Hackney – Councillor Michael Desmond
Deputy Speaker of Hackney - Councillor Humaira Garasia
Deputy Speaker of Hackney – Councillor Humaira Garasia

Events and engagements

To find about any forthcoming events contact the Speaker’s Office.

Invite the Speaker to an event

Whether you are a local community group, school or charity, inviting the Speaker to your event will lend an air of dignity and ceremony. The Speaker will try hard to attend either in person or by sending the Deputy Speaker.

Events which the Speaker attends include presentations of certificates, including citizenship ceremonies, police passing-out parades, religious services, the annual Remembrance Sunday parade, building openings, fetes, concerts, sporting events and civic receptions among many others.

The Speaker also visits schools in the borough to talk about the work of the Council and civic responsibility, and conducts tours of the Council Chamber and the Speaker’s Parlour for community groups.

Nominated charities 2021-2022

Each year the Speaker selects charitable causes to support, both by fundraising and by attendance at events. This year the Speaker has chosen St Joseph’s Hospice and Hackney Empire.

St Joseph’s Hospice  

Founded in 1905, St Joseph’s provides palliative support, day hospice facilities and residential care in Hackney and surrounds for a wide range of people in our diverse community, respecting the human dignity of the individual and the needs of family members.

Registered charity no: 1113125.

Hackney Empire

The Hackney Empire is the borough’s most iconic cultural beacon, it traditionally stages a wide range of entertainments and cultural shows, culminating, each December, with the best pantomime in London. Sadly, due to the pandemic, its stage has been darkened, hopefully it will bounce back with even greater energy and success.

Registered charity no: 1062085.


Donate to the Speaker’s nominated charity

Donations to the Speaker’s charities can also be sent to the Speaker’s Office. Cheques should be made payable to the Speaker’s charity.

Young Speakers of Hackney –  Sonny Elton and Mia Rose Skerratt

The 2 Young Speakers of Hackney are selected from Hackney Youth Parliament members. As well as being a voice for the parliament, they work towards improving the lives of young people in the borough, by championing the youth voice, attending Council meetings and working directly with the Mayor and Speaker.

Hackney Town Hall tours

Guided tours of Hackney Town Hall take place regularly. Tours also take place as part of Open House London each year.

Up to 30 people can attend a tour, which also includes a visit to the Hackney Town Hall vaults, a historical display on civic life in the borough.

Please note that tours are on hold at present and will resume post-Covid.

Hackney Town Hall Open House London virtual tour with Speaker of Hackney Cllr Michael Desmond

Children’s tours

Specialist tours for primary school children are also available. They link in with the citizenship curriculum to help further children’s understanding of democracy. To book a tour for your school please contact us at the details on this page.

Please note that tours are on hold at present and will resume post-Covid.

Page updated on: 16 December 2021

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Speaker's Office
Hackney Town Hall
Mare Street
E8 1EA


Opening times

  • Mon to Fri 9am - 5pm