Camden’s culture chief steps down from the cabinet

Cllr Jonathan Simpson

Cllr Jonathan Simpson - Credit: PressOffice [PressOffice@camden.

Camden Council’s culture chief, Jonathan Simpson, has said he is standing down from the town hall’s top table after six-and-a-half years.

The King’s Cross councillor has been a popular figure while in charge of the leisure, culture and communities brief. In recent years he spoke at the opening of the The Music Walk of Fame, led the council’s planning for EU citizens ahead of Brexit, and spearheaded the borough’s unsuccessful bid to become the London borough of culture.

Last year the Labour councillor spoke passionately in the council chamber about the need for a wider availability of the preventative HIV-drug, PrEp.

He is staying on as one of the three councillors for King’s Cross.

He made the announcement ahead of the annual cabinet selections. It is the first time members of Georgia Gould’s top team will be directly chosen by the leader, rather than the pool first being whittled down in an internal vote by the council’s Labour group.

In a tweet on Thursday afternoon, he said: “I’ve decided to not put my name forward to remain as a cabinet member. I’ve loved the role - it’s been a massive honour to work with our communities and cultural sector for such a long time. I’m going to continue that work in other ways and represent everyone in King’s Cross.

“Thanks to my colleagues in Camden Labour for all their support. I’ll continue to champion our cultural sector locally through what is undoubtedly one of the most challenging times possible.”

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Leaders of several cultural institutions in Camden have paid tribute to Cllr Simpson, including the chief executive of the JW3 Centre in Finchley Road, Raymond Simonsen.

He said: “Cllr Simpson was mayor of Camden when we opened in 2013 and has been with us every step of our journey since opening our doors. In particular, his support during the most challenging times - such as the past six months of lockdown - is hugely appreciated by the trustees of JW3 and by me personally.

“I know from many colleagues across Camden’s cultural sector that Cllr Simpson is held in very high esteem as a respected and much loved colleague and champion of culture and community within the borough.”