THIS one has been on the cards for a couple of months – most people in the Labour Party in Camden knew it was coming – but Sally Gimson has confirmed she will not stand for again in Highgate at the next year’s Town Hall elections.
Her decision comes just over a year since she ran for the overall leadership of the council as the councillor who challenged Sarah Hayward for the top job. Cllr Gimson (pictured above with fellow Highgate councillor Oliver Lewis) didn’t win, although did show that 15 people within the Labour group supported a change. If she had swung the minds of five more of her colleagues with her ‘big tent’ promises, the course of the council could have taken a different fork in the road.
It’s funny how things turn out, now both duellists at last year’s AGM, Cllr Gimson and Cllr Hayward, who stood down as leader this year and was replaced by Georgia Gould, will depart the council chamber with neither seeking re-election as councillors. Short-listing for candidates begins in the West Hampstead ward in two weeks, where Labour’s Phil Rosenberg and James Yarde have already announced they are not standing again.
Here’s Sally Gimson’s email to Labour members in Highgate explaining her next move:
Many of you may know this already, but I am not standing again in May 2018 to be a councillor. It has been a great privilege to serve the people of Highgate and I have enjoyed being a councillor very much indeed. You have all been very supportive and it has been enormous fun to work with you to make Highgate and Camden a better and more socially just place.
We have achieved many things together despite the Tory government’s huge cuts to public services. In particular we have secured the future of our community spaces (Highgate Library, Highgate Newtown Community Centre and the Dartmouth Arms).
We have also seen a big improvement in the standard of housing for council tenants since 2011, with millions of pounds invested in homes all over the ward. The best things we have achieved have been when the community and councillors have worked together for the collective good.
After serving almost two terms, I want to concentrate on other things, on a national, as well as a local level. I am going to continue my work for Index on Censorship on free speech, and campaigning for more recognition and justice for refugees, like those we met in Calais. And I look forward to writing about, and leading other social justice and political projects.
I will also continue to champion a broad church Labour party which represents all views across the democratic socialist spectrum in the best traditions of the party, and am looking forward to being even more involved in Holborn and St Pancras GC.
Thank you all for your incredible support over the last seven years. It would not have been possible without you. And I wish Cllr Oliver Lewis and the team that you are going to select around him the best of luck for the next election.