It’s all change as new mayors are sworn in

MAYORS were appointed in Barnet and Camden this week, as part of a political reshuffle across the boroughs

Katie Davies

MAYORS were appointed in Barnet and Camden this week, as part of a political reshuffle across the boroughs.

On Tuesday night, Tory councillor for Hampstead Garden Suburb John Marshall was appointed in Barnet, and last night Labour's Nural Islam was due to be appointed mayor in Camden.

Cllr Marshall said: "I am delighted but humbled to be chosen as Barnet's mayor - I am just hoping I won't put on too much weight.

"It is non-partisan so I will find that difficult. However, it's a year sabbatical so I hope to come back with even more partisan views in 12 months' time."

Cllr Marshall, who was MP for Hendon South, has chosen two charities to support in his year.

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"I have chosen the Barnet Carers Centre and Chai Cancer Care," he said. "I chose Chai because many years ago my colleague's wife was dying and he told me he wished he'd discovered it earlier.

"Their laughter centre was the only thing that made his wife laugh in the last six months of her life. So there is no better reason, in my mind, than that.

"The carers centre works for the unsung heroes of society and they are currently raising funds to relocate so I thought it would be a very good choice too."

Cllr Islam, newly elected in 2006, was due to take over from Dawn Somper in Camden last night. Meanwhile in Haringey, Cllr Alan Dobbie is due to be appointed mayor on Monday.

The impetus for change seemed to take hold of all of the political parties this week.

In Camden, deputy leader Theo Blackwell makes way for fellow Regent's Park ward councillor Nasim Ali to become deputy leader of the Labour group.

Cllr Ali said: "I feel very excited about being deputy leader for Labour in Camden. I think this is an exciting time for the party, going forward. In the Highgate by-election we showed we had a good footing to build on. There is a lot of work ahead but I am looking forward to it.

"I've been mayor, deputy mayor and executive member in the past so I think I've got the experience, but also the community knowledge and contacts for us to build on."

In Barnet the leader of the Lib Dems Cllr Monroe Palmer has stepped down. The Child's Hill councillor, whose wife Susette also represents the ward, handed over the reins to the third ward representative, Cllr Jack Cohen.

Cllr Palmer said: "I have been group leader for a total of 17 years. I think it is the right time to hand over the job to someone else."

Cllr Cohen said: "Monroe has set a high standard that will be hard to beat."