It's Roger Robinson… the alderman!

Council leader prepares tribute to councillor first elected in the year Goldfinger was released

Thursday, 2nd December 2021 — By Richard Osley

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Labour councillor Roger Robinson

THE longest serving councillor at the Town Hall is set to be made an alderman after being told by the Labour Party he cannot stand for election again.

Roger Robinson, a former mayor who represents the St Pancras and Somers Town ward, will be bestowed the rare honour when his final term comes to end in May.

The tribute will also be given to Flick Rea, the former Liberal Democrat leader who stood down in June.

Only 15 residents have been given the title before. It was more commonly used in the 1960s and 1970s – the tradition allowing aldermen and women to attend civic events, wear robes and have a seat reserved for them at full council meetings as observers.

The last to gain the honour was the late Roy Shaw. Their names will be etched in marble on the roll of honours at the Town Hall building in Judd Street.

Cllr Robinson said yesterday (Wednesday): “As I grew up in a political world due to members of my family being in parliament and local government, I saw the way forward for me as working in politics as a councillor, because you were bringing happiness and peace to many people who suffered, due to a way of life where there was no comfort at all, exacerbated by the actions of private landlords.”

He added: “I felt that I did my bit and there was, for me, a moral duty to help everybody and serve my com­munity, which was made up of all faiths, as best I could.”

He was told that an appeal against his deselection as a candidate had failed after a hearing on Saturday. A group of Labour councillors, including Cllr Robinson’s ward colleague Paul Tomlinson, have also failed to get through the process ahead of next year’s elections.

Cllr Robinson has served for 57 years – first elected in 1964, the year that Goldfinger was released, the Post Office tower was completed and Harold Wilson became prime minister – and enjoys coveted name recognition among residents.

When he was dropped from the slate of candidates in 2006, outraged residents helped force a rethink and later his reselection. During speeches in the chamber, he often talks about his upbringing in Scotland and his desire to fightback against rogue landlords.

He also helped start the campaign for a Prisoner of War memorial, working with the New Journal to see the tribute installed in Camden High Street.

A history buff, more recently he spoke out against the idea of removing St Pancras from the name of the area’s parliamentary constituency.

“To the many people I have met on my journey in local politics I have thoroughly enjoyed being your local councillor,” he said.

“Heartfelt thanks to my wife Maureen, a former councillor, and my family for their enduring support for me despite the long hours and pressure of my work.

“Camden’s motto is ‘not for oneself, but for all’ and throughout my time as a local councillor, I have always strived to live by this motto.”

Town Hall leader Labour councillor Georgia Gould said: “I am very keen to recognise his extraordinary commitment to Camden and I will be consulting officers and members about putting Roger Robinson forward as an Honorary Alderman alongside former councillor Flick Rea as an Honorary Alderwoman.

“I hope there will be a lot of support for recognising their huge service to Camden.”

She added: “I would like to thank everyone who is standing down as a councillor for their commitment to serving Camden. This is an important moment to reflect on what councillors have given to the borough and there are some councillors with an extraordinary record of service and leadership.

“Roger has touched so many lives as a tireless champion of the people of this borough. He has been a long-term supporter of the Somers Town History Museum, young people, council housing, equalities and he created and chaired Camden’s Disability Oversight Committee.”

…and Flick will have her named carved in marble too!

ROGER Robinson and Flick Rea could joust about long service: Cllr Robinson had more years on the clock, but Ms Rea had the longest continuous service when she stepped down from the council chamber in June. Cllr Robinson had a very short time away.


SEE ALSO FLASHBACK FLICK REA TO STAND DOWN AS A COUNCILLOR


With the move to make both honorary alderpeople, Ms Rea will become the first member not from Labour or the Tories to receive the honour.

Sometimes described as the “best mayor Camden never had” Ms Rea had been a councillor for 35 years in Fortune Green.

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