December 5 2013 Latest news:
by Jon Dean
Monday, September 16, 2013
Islington Council leader Catherine West ended months of speculation on Saturday when confirmed she would be stepping down from her role to concentrate on winning Hornsey and Wood Green for Labour in 2015.
Cllr West, speaking at an Islington Labour Party away day over the weekend, said she will officially resign from her position at the full council meeting on October 10.
The move will allow her to focus her energies on the battle for Hornsey and Wood Green at the next general election, which is now less than two years away.
Cllr West was chosen as Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate back in June, which means she will go head-to-head with the constituency’s current MP, Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone.
The 47-year-old, who has been an Islington councillor since 2002, said: “I am hoping this will give me more time to focus on what is going to be a big piece of work: there is a lot of work to be done between now and 2015.
“I need to get my head in the right space for the next 18 months. The incumbent [Ms Featherstone] is very well organised and we have to put our minds to a similar level of organisation.”
She added: “It was my birthday on Saturday when I made the announcement so I was a bit of a blubbering mess.
“I will really miss the hands-on element of local government. The sense of genuinely having an effect on things like crime, sitting with the Kinsella family and talking to them, or chatting with people on estates about their problems, and being able to do something about it.
“But it feels like I am leaving on a good year. I am so proud of the GCSE results in the borough as well as our focus on employment, the living wage, free school meals.
“I have had women come up to me and say ‘I’ve never bothered voting before, but after seeing you now I get it’. That makes all the hard graft over the last ten years seem worth it.”