54 becomes 53 as Phil Jones decides to step down from council

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.

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2 Comments on 54 becomes 53 as Phil Jones decides to step down from council

  1. Paul Braithwaite // September 12, 2017 at 9:35 pm // Reply

    Phil will be a great loss to Camden and Cantelowes ward. I have always had respect for his commitment and unflinching willingness to hold the line – particularly when standing firm on cycling infrastructure proposals. I encouraged him to stand for Parliament but he’s decided on a different career and I wish him good fortune. He is a gentleman. To lose him AND Tom Foot (watching out for us at the CNJ) makes for a bad news week.

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  2. I have been employed in development control as a planner, a term Camden Council finds distasteful, with the Cities of London and Westminster and in Camden in a voluntary role for 30 years and so I know the obscene financial pressures at first hand.
    It is simply not good enough for Phil Jones who has been a key figure in our local government, for good or ill, to simply step down in order to take up a role in ‘planning’ without further explanation.
    We need to know where he is taking up his new role, in what I assume will be the private sector. We need to know whether this outfit has in the fairly recent past, or will be making planning applications in the future that he could have had some influence over and thus expose the existence of any potential or real conflicts of interest. I would have thought he would have wanted to head off any potential doubts from the get-go by being transparent. But that does not seem to be the Camden way of doing things. Sarah Hayward’s unexplained overnight departure is a case in point!
    Tony Tugnutt

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