Camden's deputy mayor ditches Labour to join Greens

Cllr Lorna Russell was made deputy mayor in May

Cllr Lorna Russell was made deputy mayor in May - Credit: Cllr Lorna Russell

Camden's deputy mayor has quit the Labour Party to join the Greens.

Cllr Lorna Russell is now the second Green representative on the town hall, joining Highgate’s Cllr Sian Berry.

The Fortune Green councillor says Labour has “changed a lot” and her defection will allow her to “be more vocal” on housing issues and developments including the O2 Centre.

The move comes ahead of elections to Camden Council in May and the Cop26 global climate summit in November. Cllr Russell was made deputy mayor five months ago.  

In a resignation letter to residents Cllr Russell said: “My principles and core values of social justice, equality, and environmentalism have not changed, but I have found myself in a party that has changed a lot.  

“I am proud to now represent a party that believes in building a truly fairer society and protecting the planet for future generations. 

“Locally, I share the Camden Green Party’s community spirit and I look forward to having more freedom to hold the council to account and represent Fortune Green on the issues that matter most to our area.  

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“For example, I intend to be more vocal about the quality and supply of our social housing, the state of our streets and local traffic, and large local developments like the O2 Centre.” 

London Assembly member and former Green leader Cllr Berry said she was “pleased and honoured” to be joined by Cllr Russell.

Green Party's Sian Berry arriving at City Hall, London, for the declaration for the next Mayor of Lo

Cllr Sian Berry, who now has a fellow Green on the council - Credit: PA

“Lorna has always shown a huge passion for speaking up for ideas to solve environmental and social problems, and has been a fantastic and hardworking ward councillor too.  

“I am really looking forward to working with her as part of a new team of Greens constructively holding Camden Council to account.” 

Cllr Russell’s defection was said to have been made after a “significant period of self-reflection". 

Camden leader Cllr Georgia Gould said: "I’m sad to see Lorna leave our group, and would like to thank her for being part of delivering for Camden in a Labour administration.

"The climate and ecological crisis is the challenge of our lifetime and I know that Labour is the best party to fight for both social and climate justice."

Cllr Russell was elected to Camden Council in 2014 and in 2019 was appointed cabinet advisor. 

Nationally, since May by-elections have seen eight new Green councillors elected, with six gains from the Conservatives and one each from Labour and the Lib Dems.  

Cllr Russell is the seventh sitting councillor this year to become a Green.