BREAKING news in Camden’s political circles: Claire-Louise Leyland is to stand down as leader of the Conservatives and will not stand for re-election as a councillor in her Belsize ward. Gio Spinella is set to step up.
Cllr Leyland, who stood for parliament in Hampstead and Kilburn last year, sent this letter to colleagues:
I wanted to take the opportunity to thank each of you for your hard work over the past few years. It has been inspiring to see the commitment that you’ve shown to your residents and to your ward. I’m also so thankful for all that you’ve done, in your own way, towards our shared work as Camden Conservatives. Being in Opposition isn’t easy, but I know that our combined efforts have changed the way Camden council operates, helped residents to see the choices than Camden Labour have made, and brought about service innovation that has made life better for local people.
For eight years as a councillor, five of those as Leader of Camden Conservatives, public service has been such a big part of my life. I’ve met so many amazing people across Camden, not least over the past summer when we all worked together night and day to support the residents in my ward during such a difficult time.
Over the Christmas break, I visited family and friends and had an opportunity to draw breath and reflect. I’m so grateful for how amazingly supportive my partner and my family have been of my work, in spite of the impact on their lives of the many evening meetings, weekend street stalls and holidays spent campaigning. I’ve realised that the time has come for me to take a break from public life and to focus more on my family and on my work. I will be stepping down as Leader of Camden Conservatives at the next group meeting and won’t be standing for re-election in May this year.
I’m very pleased that Cllr Gio Spinella has agreed to be nominated for the position of Group Leader for Camden Conservatives. He has served our Association as Chairman for the past three years, showing leadership and resolve in the face of many challenges. His campaigns, like the waste and garden tax campaign, have helped us to make a real impact for local people living in the north of the borough. I know that he will be a passionate, effective and committed group leader for you on Camden council, guiding the team’s efforts to serve our community in Camden.
Councillor – Belsize ward
Leader of Camden Conservatives