Kentish Town councillor resigns after Ham&High expose
PUBLISHED: 11:49 12 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:22 07 September 2010
COWBOY councillor Philip Thompson has resigned after the Ham&High revealed he was doing his political work 5,500 miles away in the American state of Arizona. The Kentish Town representative ended the lease on his Fortess Road home last month and moved to
COWBOY councillor Philip Thompson has resigned after the Ham&High revealed he was doing his political work 5,500 miles away in the American state of Arizona.
The Kentish Town representative ended the lease on his Fortess Road home last month and moved to the mid-west to start a PhD in American politics at The University of Arizona.
But while in Tucson the 26-year-old was still pocketing his £700 a month council allowance and hoping to continue his work by email.
Following the Ham&High expose, outraged local residents complained about the set up and last night the politician told colleagues he would resign his seat over the controversy.
One of his Lib Dem colleagues Cllr Russell Eagling said: "Philip has decided to resign. The events of this week made him focus his mind and he realised he had to make a decision now. Being offered a place at the University of Arizona isn't like being offered one at Keele. You can't just pop over to check what's happening. The course is what he wants to be doing."
Formal notification is yet to be received by the council so no date has been set for a by-election.
Speaking in this week's Ham&High, Cllr Thompson defended his move to the states, which he didn't inform his constituents about, and said he could carry on from there.
He said: "I never expected to have the opportunity to come here but it was an opportunity too difficult to pass up.
"There is no reduced service for people in Kentish Town, I have carried on with all my casework.
"It is not a thing to cling onto for the sake of it, I enjoy being a councillor and I will not continue to do it if it is impossible. I will be talking to my colleagues in Kentish Town and to Keith [council leader Keith Moffitt], as well as the people of Kentish Town.
"I am fully aware of the world-class universities in Camden borough but unfortunately this is my specialism, so for me, it is the best place to study it."
Kentish Town Ward Cllr Ralph Scott said:
"Philip Thompson has made the right decision to stand down. He has been a hard working local councillor and has notched up a lot of successes for his constituents in the last two years. But Kentish Town demands someone who can give it their all. I understand that he will be writing to the Council's Chief Executive to give his formal resignation.
"There will be a byelection in due course and I hope that it will be fought on the big issues that matter to local people - like the local economy, decent homes for residents, protecting local policing and leisure facilities like Kentish Town Baths - not personality politics. "
Political parties will now all have to gear up for Camden's sixth by-election since 2006.
A likely front-runner for the seat is London Mayoral candidate for the Greens, Sian Berry. She has contested the seat before and lives in the ward.
The Lib Dems will be attempting to hold the Kentish Town seat, where Cllr Thompson won the largest number of votes when selected in 2006.