Camden Lib Dem leader Luisa Porritt to stand down at elections

Belsize: Former MEP says demands of work led to decision not to stand again

Thursday, 3rd February — By Richard Osley

luisa porritt camdenrally Image 2019-09-01 at 00.12.16 (5)

Councillor Luisa Porritt won her seat from the Conservatives in 2018

THE leader of Camden’s Liberal Democrats will not contest May’s council elections after deciding it will be too hard to juggle her day job with another four years at the Town Hall.

Luisa Porritt has been credited as an energetic opponent against the Labour council – and a key asset in her party’s efforts to regain ground in Camden. But she said last night (Wednesday) that after weeks of deliberation, she did not feel it was right to stand again.

“One of the things that I have learned is that local politics can be rewarding – as a councillor you can really make a difference in your ward and see the impact you are having,” said Cllr Porritt, who was also an MEP until Britain’s divorce from the European Union.

“Being a councillor is a huge honour, especially in my home ward but people’s circumstances change over four years and they will change again over the next four years. You owe it to residents to be able to give it all the time it needs.”

She added: “I’ll still be a Lib Dem – I’m not leaving the party and I will be very much involved in the campaign right up to the elections in May. You have to remember, I wasn’t elected alone – there is a whole team of Liberal Democrats in Camden.”

She won a close-call vote in Belsize in 2018 as the Lib Dems took two seats from the Tories. This time around, it has been suggested that boundary changes may favour the Conservatives and group leader, Oliver Cooper, has moved to stand in the ward.

“People can say whatever they like but I’m being honest with the residents,” said Cllr Porritt, who works in financial communications and was her party’s London mayoral candidate last year.

“I will miss it very much because I do think, even though it is a small group, we make a difference being there.”

Cllr Porritt said: “Some of the things that I will really remember and I’m most proud of are individual housing cases, or even helping people get the information they need to get a visa. “But I do think we have brought important motions to the council chamber too. The one calling for the People’s Vote began with us, and Labour councillors supported it.

“We did good work calling for the end of Section 21 evictions on behalf of tenants, even if we are not quite there yet in getting it changed. And the same goes for our calls to divest Camden’s pension fund from fossil fuels.”

Lib Dem candidates in Belsize will now be Cllr Tom Simon, Matthew Kirk and Judy Dixey.

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