I BLAME last night’s dreary council meeting, as much as I’m told it’s for other reasons. I wouldn’t blame anybody in the room for sitting through that and deciding they could achieve more elsewhere.
Yesterday the quietly influential Labour councillor Phil Jones, however, was only meant to be stepping down from Georgia Gould’s cabinet, but still standing for re-election as a ward councillor at next May’s council elections.
This evening, he’s reportedly told some of his colleagues that he wants to cash in all his chips after all, and will not stand again. He wants to focus on his new job in planning.
It’s a loss for Labour, as he is a councillor who knows his stuff and rattles off fulsome answers when asked for explanations, and does so without losing his top, possibly due to his calming schedule of Tai-chi in his spare time. He has been tipped as a future leader in the past by some group members, although without the man himself ever really giving off the impression that this was a driving ambition. It also leaves Labour now with just 53 approved candidates for 54 slots on the boroughwide ballot paper ahead of the local elections.
Organisers now presumably have no choice but to seek new applications, a move they seemed so reluctant to make previously.