TOWN Hall leader Nash Ali has told Labour Party colleagues he is to step down as leader of Camden Council. Here is his email to the group:
This evening, I notified my ward that I will not be putting myself forward for re-election at the Group AGM. I will resign as Council Leader at the Statutory Council meeting on 14th May.
I have now been a councillor for 10 years. I have been leader of the Labour Group for three years, including one as Leader of the opposition and two as Leader of the Council.
It had been my intention to stand for one further year as Leader of the Council. May 2013 seemed the appropriate time for the Labour Group to elect the person whom they would wish to lead them into the elections in May 2014. I never saw myself in this role.
However, last Friday Sarah Hayward notified me that she intends to challenge me as leader of the Labour Group and Camden Council at the Group AGM on 9th May.
Sarah has now forced the issue. Were I to stand against Sarah, there would be an unnecessary, and potentially divisive, campaign as to who would be the leader for the next 12 months.
It was a pleasure to lead Labour to victory in May 2010, an election which was so critical for Labour in Camden. This would not have been possible without the commitment of all the Action Team members and all our supporters.
By stepping down, I invite the Labour Group to elect now, the person whom they would wish to lead them to victory in May 2014. I open up the election to others who might wish to lead the Group and the Council in the longer term. Colleagues have indicated that they would be minded to stand, but would not stand against me. I am grateful for their loyalty. However, it is more important for the Labour Group to have the widest choice of candidates for the next phase of Labour’s leadership in Camden.
By opening up the field, I hope that a leader will emerge who has the widest support amongst the Labour Group.
We should remind ourselves that the Labour Group has stood united in making the most difficult budgetary decisions in Camden’s history. The past two years have been very challenging for us and we have had some turbulent times as a Labour Group. I am pleased that over the past 12 months we have overcome some of those challenges and are now more united as a Labour Group.
I have also reviewed my position outside the leadership roles. Community politics are in my blood. My three sons have all been born during my period on the Council and I strived to manage the balance of family life, work and council. I am blessed to have a very supportive family.
It has been a pleasure to serve as a councillor for Regents Park ward and I currently intend to seek re-election in May 2014. I have always seen Roy Shaw as a role model – someone who dedicated himself to public service. It is an example that I will strive to develop from.
I have sought to represent all sections of our vibrant and diverse communities in Camden. I hope that I have helped to make both the Council and the local Labour Party more inclusive. I will continue to strive to achieve this.
I step down with some sadness, but no bitterness. It has been a privilege to serve as councillor, Mayor, Group Leader and Council Leader. I look forward to new challenges in the years ahead and to working closely with my successor.
I have referred to the campaign leading up to May 2014 as being the longest election campaign in history. In reality, the campaign will continue for a further year until we can return a Labour government in May 2015.
In the short term, I hope that we can all harness our energies for the London and CT&PH elections on 3 May.
I am grateful for all the support that you have given me.