IN DEPTH: Andrew Marshall - Turning Camden Council blue

Susanna Wilkey HE has been leader of Camden's Tories since 2006 and believes with a Conservative government almost a dead cert his party has a real chance of taking control of the borough. Andrew Marshall has been a councillor for Swiss Cottage since 1998

Susanna Wilkey

HE has been leader of Camden's Tories since 2006 and believes with a Conservative government almost a dead cert his party has a real chance of taking control of the borough.

Andrew Marshall has been a councillor for Swiss Cottage since 1998 and is excited about the upcoming elections and the diversity of the candidates his party has to offer.

He has promised a two-year council tax freeze if the Tories win a majority as well as better value for money across the board.


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Cllr Marshall said: "The run up to elections is always an interesting time and you always get out and talk to a lot of people and find some nook and cranny of the borough you did not know.

"We have got quite a diversity among our candidates which is great, including a woman from a Bangladeshi background for the first time and a total mixture of ages.

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"We would like to run Camden. We were a pretty effective opposition during the Labour years and we negotiated them into some sensible decisions. In any local authority it is not a case of black or white and no party has all the answers.

"Given the financial concerns at the moment people feel we are pretty good about getting value for money and making the money go further. We have some experienced candidates and we can make this council better."

For the last four years Camden has been governed by a Liberal Democrat, Conservative coalition and the Tories have had particular responsibility for schools and the environment.

Cllr Marshall, who works in corporate communications, says they are being careful not to make promises they cannot deliver but believe they can improve services despite the climate of financial concern and the need to make savings.

He said: "Most people wanted to see the back of Labour in the last election and they expected the other two parties to work together in a grown up fashion which is what we have done.

"But people have not seen a Conservative government over the last four years only what the Conservative approach can do."

He says they are not interested in copying Barnet Council's no frills easyCouncil model but says lessons can be learned from neighbouring Tory boroughs.

"We are not taking anything for granted," he said. "There are a lot of people who have not made their minds up yet and we are fighting for every vote everywhere.

"The country needs a Conservative majority and an awful lot of people who have never voted Conservative in the past plan to do so this time. I have seen that in Swiss Cottage and around the borough.

"The economy is a massive issue at the moment and the public has had enough of the government's mismanagement of public spending."

The Conservatives plan to make savings by sharing more services and working more closely with other public bodies and local authorities including the health service and the police.

"There will be challenges but we are the right people to face them," he said. "Camden is a very interesting place to be a councillor.

"Camden councillors can have a lot more political power to make things happen than a backbench MP. I think we will make very significant progress in Camden in the next elections, the national mood will help us and we are certainly fighting to win."

Cllr Marshall lives in Chalk Farm with his wife who he met at Camden Council when he was first elected in 1990. He stood as a parliamentary candidate in 1997 in Birmingham Edgbaston which was the first seat to be counted and won by Labour in that landslide election.

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