With great reluctance, I have taken the decision to stand down from the Council, and have today resigned with immediate effect. It is expected that a by election will be called in Coleridge to be held in approx 6 weeks time.
Being a councillor should not have to be a full-time job - the last thing we want is a tier of relatively highly paid local politicians living off the taxpayer. But the time it takes to do it can come close. I always tried to be the type of Councillor who is accessible, keeps in touch with residents and is active in trying to solve local issues. As the only elected Conservative in Cambridge (let alone the only Conservative out of 4 Coleridge Councillors), I also tried taking on a remit including moving forward the case for a Conservative alternative for the future development of the City, as well as trying to scrutinise decisions across the City Council. This remit is always going to be a challenge, but over the last few months, for various reasons, it has been impossibly difficult to make any progress, and the commensurate 'job-satisfaction' in being a Councillor all but vanished.
My professional career has effectively been on hold since I was re-elected and for that reason I decided some time ago that I wouldn't stand for re-election at the end of my term in 2012, to focus on career development. Without the prospect of being able to make significant progress politically before this time, I came to the conclusion that I needed to bring forward that decision, step down now and let the baton be taken up by someone who can make progress in the longer term.
It has genuinely been an immense privelege and honour to serve residents in Coleridge over the last two and a half years as a City Councillor (as it was in Cherry Hinton from 2000 to 2004), and to be part of the democratic process scrutinising how decisions are taken affecting Cambridge now and in the future. I remain deeply interested in many of the key issues facing us in Cambridge - how we develop the local economy in a way that helps all local residents and supports the national economy, and how we can bring new and better housing and transport to the area with the support of local residents and without damaging the things that makes Cambridge special. Whilst I may continue to engage with the issues, I am retiring from party politics for the forseeable future.
Much of the our local campaigning in Coleridge has very much been a team effort - I thank those in the ward team who have given me unstinting help and support, and would urge residents to support the Conservative candidate at the forthcoming by-election - Coleridge and Cambridge desperately needs a Conservative voice!