SIOBHAN Baillie – seen as a of a rising star in the Conservative ranks – has become the latest councillor to announce that her future lies away from the Town Hall. She has told colleagues that she does not intend to stand again at next year’s council elections in Camden and will depart after a single term. Her decision opens up a spot for a new Tory candidate to stand in the party’s safest ward.
“This is a tough decision,” she says. ” It has been a pleasure to represent such an amazing area with so many committed residents, associations and groups. They continue to impress me every day and will no doubt keep me on my toes until the end of my term in May 2018. We also have a lot to do at the moment. There are Community Investment Levy projects to implement, ongoing school traffic chaos and the ever problematic new waste contract to name but a few issues. As I am always assisted by many excellent local activists and the ward committee, I know my work will continue and the ward will be in good hands once I leave. I look forward to seeing residents over the coming months.”
You do not have to wind back too many pages on this site to find the story of how some of Cllr Baillie’s admirers were left frustrated when she was not even shortlisted to stand in Hampstead and Kilburn at June’s general election. She instead was despatched to the no-chance seat of Bermondsey and Old Southwark where Labour and the Liberal Democrats were having a tug-of-war. The Tory share of the vote went up by 1.2 percent.
There is also the story of how she was encouraged by the party to run for a place on the London Assembly only to be crowded out at selection time. These episodes, of course, have nothing to do with her decision to depart our local political scene.
The official line from Cllr Baillie: “After much thought, I have decided not to seek re-election as councillor for Frognal & Fitzjohns ward next year. I want to concentrate on my work helping families, tackling parental conflict and promoting policy to strengthen relationships. This area is gaining some serious ground too. Conservative Members of Parliament have just launched a series of new family focused policies and, alongside the mental health work being championed by the Prime Minister, I am excited to be involved with the social justice agenda. The cross party mental health review that I chaired for Camden council certainly enhanced my interest in the field and I loved fundraising for the wonderful Anna Freud Centre.”