Third Labour councillor quits
A leading Labour councillor has announced he will not run at the next local election following in the footsteps of party leader Cllr Anna Stewart who announced her resignation in the Ham&High last week. Councillor for Regent's Park, Theo Blackwell, who i
A leading Labour councillor has announced he will not run at the next local election following in the footsteps of party leader Cllr Anna Stewart who announced her resignation in the Ham&High last week.
Councillor for Regent's Park, Theo Blackwell, who is a well-known figure as party spokesman, has announced he will join experienced members Cllr Stewart and Cllr Geethika Jayatilaka in not seeking reappointment in 2010.
Control of the council was taken from the Labour Party in 2006 and the move suggests many leading figures have doubts about their ability to claim it back from the current Lib Dem/Conservative administration.
However, Cllr Blackwell has denied that he is fleeing a sinking ship and rather blames his decision on the council blocking effective scrutiny.
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"I was elected at 29 and now I am 36 - I will have done 8 years and it's a demanding job, when I was elected I had hair, and now I don't," he said
"More seriously, the last four years at the Town Hall have seen a diminishing in the role of scrutiny. Councillors used to tackle, in public, some meaty issues and get involved in policy making but today everyone knows it's a bit of a joke.
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"Some key officers are slow in responding to requests and you never get the sense that the council is making their most difficult decisions in the full glare of the public.
"In particular, there's been a massive accountability deficit around their cuts programme and how they have built up their �80 million reserves.
"It's not about the election - on a head- to head poll with the Tories we'd expect to make gains in Camden (as in the Mayoral election when the Lib Dems came 4th)."
It is likely that Tulip Siddiq will run as Cllr Blackwell's replacement.
The 26-year-old has written for the Ham&High on a series of political issues as well as writing a blog from the US during Barack Obama's election campaign.
Cllr Nasim Ali and Cllr Julian Fulbrook are going head to head to win leadership of the political group.
Cllr Blackwell has written a piece for the Ham&High this week criticising the council's handling of the recession.
To read it see Thursday's paper.