Tuesday March 13, 2012
EXCLUSIVE by RICHARD OSLEY
CAMDEN Council leader Nasim Ali has told Labour Party colleagues tonight (Tuesday) that he is stepping down. Cllr Ali, leader at the Town Hall since 2010, said he had been challenged for the leadership by regeneration chief Councillor Sarah Hayward ahead of the party's annual general meeting in May.
In an email to colleagues, Cllr Ali said he had wanted to stay in the top role for another 12 months before handing on the baton, but was told last Friday by Cllr Hayward that she would challenge him for the leadership.
He said: "Sarah has now forced the issue. Were I to stand against Sarah, there would be an unnecessary, and potentially divisive, campaign as to who would be the leader for the next 12 months. It was a pleasure to lead Labour to victory in May 2010, an election which was so critical for Labour in Camden. This would not have been possible without the commitment of all the Action Team members and all our supporters."
Cllr Ali added: "By stepping down, I invite the Labour Group to elect now, the person whom they would wish to lead them to victory in May 2014. I open up the election to others who might wish to lead the Group and the Council in the longer term. Colleagues have indicated that they would be minded to stand, but would not stand against me. I am grateful for their loyalty. However, it is more important for the Labour Group to have the widest choice of candidates for the next phase of Labour’s leadership in Camden. By opening up the field, I hope that a leader will emerge who has the widest support amongst the Labour Group."