Camden's Liberal Democrat leader to stand down from the council

Cllr Luisa Porritt. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cllr Luisa Porritt. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

After five years scaling heady heights of the Liberal Democrat party, a Belsize Park councillor will not be standing in the May elections.

Cllr Luisa Porritt said it is no longer "sustainable" to juggle her political position with her work in financial communications and "not fair" on her constituents to continue trying. 

In her short political career she has been a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and stood against Sadiq Khan in the 2021 mayoral election.

She has been group leader of the three Liberal Democrats in Camden and first won her seat in Belsize Park by nine votes in 2018.

Cllr Porritt joined the party in the week after the Brexit referendum in 2016.

"I was absolutely devastated by Brexit as a lot of people were," she said.

"Joining a political party was a big step. Especially having come from a background in journalism, I felt it was very important to remain independent and not nail my colours to any particular mast.

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"I was a bit of a late bloomer, I was a floating voter, I hadn't worked out where my loyalties lay but it was a moment of realisation of what my values were.

"I didn't have an intention to be an active member but things kind of snowballed after that."

She said she will continue as group leader until May and will be involved in the campaign in a "roaming role" knocking on doors.

"I'm still very much struggling coming to terms with my decision. I really feel quite sad and torn," she said.

"I don't feel I'm in a position to give the time and energy over the next four years that I did in the last four years, and ultimately I don't think it would be fair to the residents to not be able to do that. 

"I'm really attached to the area. I grew up here and I care passionately about it.

"I got to work on amazing things. You can make quite a lot of concrete change in local politics. People don't necessarily always see the things you do, it's not the debates you have in the council chamber, it's the individual bits of casework to help people in difficult housing situations, or seemingly small things like their rubbish collection's been missed and you can get it sorted."