Pictured: Outgoing leader of the Tories Councillor Andrew Marshall with fellow Swiss Cottage member Don Williams at Friday's election count
Tuesday May 11, 2010
By RICHARD OSLEY
CAMDEN Conservatives unanimously elected a new leader last night (Monday) after Councillor Andrew Marshall, the deputy leader of the council for the last four years, stepped down from the job.
Cllr Marshall was replaced at the head of the Tory group at the Town Hall by long-serving councillor Martin Davies, who served as social services chief in a one-term Lib Dem and Conservative coalition. Former schools chief Andrew Mennear became the group's deputy.
Both the Tories and the Lib Dems were left disappointed at boroughwide council elections on Thursday, neither side winning enough seats to form a majority to run Camden. And even if they worked together, they now no longer have enough councillors to outvote Labour, who stormed back to power with gains across the southern half of the borough and in Kilburn and Highgate.
Cllr Marshall said: "In a completely new political situation, I decided this was the right time for me to stand down and allow a fresh leader to build on what was actually a strong Conservative vote in many parts of the borough. Martin Davies is exceptionally well qualified to lead the group and has a track record in particular of caring for those in Camden who are deprived or left behind by society in some way."
He added: "I will remain an active councillor, representing Swiss Cottage and continuing to work for Conservative success in Camden. It has been a huge privilege to lead the Conservative group and to serve as Deputy Leader of the Council. The partnership administration has a strong record of achievement in which the Conservative group played a very full part. Through a responsible approach, we showed - against many expectations - that we could work with the decision of the electorate and make a coalition work well over four years."
Cllr Davies, who represents Frognal and had one of the highest personal polls in the borough on Thursday said: "Andrew Marshall has done a marvellous job over the past four years steering us through a coalition running the Council. We are entering a new era and I am delighted that the Conservative group has chosen me to lead them. I see my role as leading the robust challenge of the new Labour administration, whilst building the broad conservative consensus with the people of Camden as the foundations for our future success. Andrew Mennear and I have been fellow Councillors for the past 12 years and I believe we present a strong and formidable Conservative leadership team in Camden. The new Conservative group has a superb breadth and depth of talent from our experienced Councillors to our newly elected colleagues, like Claire-Louise Leyland, Jonny Bucknell and Laura Trott.”