Search

Camden Council Labour leader Nash Ali quits after challenge against him

PUBLISHED: 12:45 14 March 2012 | UPDATED: 13:49 14 March 2012

Cllr Nasim Ali is quitting as leader of Camden Council. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cllr Nasim Ali is quitting as leader of Camden Council. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

The leader of Camden Council will quit the top job after being challenged for the post by his regeneration chief.

Cllr Nash Ali emailed fellow Labour councillors on Tuesday night (March 13) to tell them of his early exit after Cllr Sarah Hayward confirmed she would stand against him at Labour’s annual meeting in May.

Cllr Ali, who has led the party for three years, told colleagues he had wanted to stay in the job for another 12 months but that Cllr Hayward had “forced the issue”.

He told the Ham&High: “It was a difficult decision to say I am going to step down from the biggest job in Camden, but I am doing what is best for the Labour Party.

“We are running the council and we want to make sure we do that to the best of our ability.

“If I was going to be standing for Labour leader beyond the next council elections in 2014, I would have considered standing against Sarah. I have no doubt I would have won.

“But if I went through that election contest for the sake of one year, that wouldn’t be fair.”

Since becoming leader three years ago, Cllr Ali has faced one of the toughest political and economic climates of any Camden leader.

He led the party to victory in the 2010 local elections, toppling the town hall’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat Camden coalition.

But once in office he was faced with steering through £100million of cuts over four years, schools losing millions of pounds of government funding for much-needed repairs, and the outbreak of rioting in Camden Town last August.

He showed a flair for talking to the community and launched the Camden Education Commission in an ambitious bid to help the borough’s schools capitalise on the area’s links to the creative industries.

But the father-of-three made no secret of his plans to step down as leader ahead of the 2014 council elections, and disquiet among Labour colleagues at his leadership style continued unabated.

A Labour insider said: “Camden is one of the leading boroughs in the country, and there was a feeling that we weren’t pulling our weight in London or in the country. That is not Camden’s style. That is something that rested on people’s minds.

“I’m not sure there was enough of wanting to set the agenda. Sarah would lead from the front.”

While Cllr Hayward, who represents King’s Cross, is the only person so far to have announced her leadership bid, the outgoing leader encouraged others to enter the race.

In his resignation email he said: “Colleagues have indicated that they would be minded to stand, but would not stand against me. I am grateful for their loyalty.

“However, it is more important for the Labour Group to have the widest choice of candidates for the next phase of Labour’s leadership in Camden.”

Cllr Hayward confirmed that she had told Cllr Ali last Friday (March 9) she would stand against him.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

Natwest T20 Blast: Surrey (156-7) beat Middlesex (141-7) by 15 runs

10:00

As vertical planting makes its mark at many of this year’s top gardening shows, here’s how to aim high

Yesterday, 18:49

Despite a rollercoaster year and a national dip in transactions Hampstead estate agents are reporting the return of big deals

Yesterday, 15:21

A devoted remain MP was quizzed this week by a young Brexiteer during a politics summer school.

Yesterday, 14:15

In this week’s Ham&High we spoke to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels actor Vas Blackwood told us about his life, loves and respect for former Labour leader Michael Foot.

Yesterday, 14:02

A one bedroom apartment on the pretty in pastel Primrose Hill street home to Paddington Bear is on the market with Knight Frank

Yesterday, 13:00

England left-back has not played for the club since January, but appears to be making good progress

Yesterday, 12:17

Homes with higher EPC ratings could offer buyers bigger mortgages says new report, but the Highgate Society Sustainable Homes Group has raised concerns that the EPC system is flawed

PROMOTED CONTENT

Navigating divorce or separation when there are children involved can be emotionally difficult and confusing for everyone involved. Here, Jessica Palmer of Streathers Solicitors in Hampstead, offers answers to commonly asked questions

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate stories

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now