Camden Council leader Sarah Hayward sees off challenge from within
- Credit: Archant
There will be no change at the top of Camden Council after leader Sarah Hayward saw off a challenge from within and defeated Labour rival Sally Gimson.
In a secret ballot at the Labour group’s annual general meeting (AGM), Cllr Hayward held on to the leadership by 24 votes to 15, a win she described as “convincing”.
Cllr Hayward told the Ham&High she wants to concentrate on moving forward with the Labour group and getting straight back to business.
She said: “I am looking forward to continuing to work on our Labour strategy and fighting the Tories on cuts, housing and schools.”
But Cllr Gimson, who represents Highgate ward, said she has no regrets about challenging the leader.
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She said: “I would obviously like to thank my supporters, and look forward to serving from the back benches.
“The result was really clear, and many congratulations to Sarah.”
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The AGM, which is not open to the press or public, also saw the re-election of the cabinet - the council’s inner cabal of nine senior councillors with specific briefs.
Cllr Gimson did not seek re-election to Cllr Hayward’s cabinet and will stand down from her current role as chief of adult health and social care.
Outgoing Mayor of Camden Larraine Revah was elected to the cabinet, and is expected to take on the health and social care brief, although there could be a reshuffle by the leader.
The leadership contest was seen as one of personality and management style rather than a battle of ideological differences, as Cllrs Hayward and Gimson are both regarded as being from the Blairite wing of the Labour group.
Cllr Hayward has been Camden’s leader since 2012, when she successfully challenged Nasim Ali for the job, defeating then councillor Tulip Siddiq by a single vote.
Cllr Gimson had said she wanted to become leader to make better use of the talents within the Labour group, which she did not feel were being best utilised.
A party insider told the Ham&High: “Sally has no regrets about standing.
“It’s disappointing, but she got a lot of support - she only needed five more votes to win.
“Sally put out some really positive messages and asked some important questions about what sort of council we want to be.
“I think it sends out a clear message to the leader about how we want to best represent our residents. She would have worked well with our MPs and party officials.
“I hope there will be a positive response to that from the leader, as we all have to work together for the good of Camden.”