"I feel so lucky to have been Leader of Cambridge City Council, serving in a city of considerable magic. It has easily been my greatest privilege in four decades of public service work." Cllr Lewis Herbert
Cllr Lewis Herbert

Cllr. Lewis Herbert has today announced his intention to stand down as Leader of Cambridge City Council after over seven years in the role. Fellow Labour Councillors will meet next week to elect a new leader. Cllr. Herbert will remain as a city councillor for Coleridge ward, which he has represented since 2004. The new nominee leader will then be decided on by a special meeting of full council in November.

Reflecting on his time as leader, Cllr Herbert said;

“I feel so lucky to have been Leader of Cambridge City Council, serving in a city of considerable magic. It has easily been my greatest privilege in four decades of public service work.

“I am so proud of our council staff and all they do for us – never more so than over the pandemic, when they really have gone above and beyond for our residents. It’s been a privilege to lead such a talented team of Labour Councillors, who have worked with real dedication over the past seven years to improve residents’ lives and help make our city the best it can be.

“We’ve pulled together with our city’s amazing voluntary groups to create ‘One Cambridge Fair For All’ by tackling inequality and promoting food justice and addressing the twin environmental emergencies of biodiversity loss and climate change. We’ve built over 500 new council homes and provided dozens of mobile homes for former rough sleepers. We’ve secured money to improve transport and infrastructure and maintained quality services throughout COVID despite a serious shortfall in Government funding.

“We have a hugely able, experienced and collegiate team of Cambridge Labour councillors. All leaders should be ready to step aside when the time is right, and now is the time for new leadership. I will be supporting the new Leader of the Council, when they are confirmed by the Council at a special meeting in November along with all our Labour teams at City, County and Combined Authority level. And serving the area I know best, Coleridge.  

“Our work for Cambridge and its residents continues at the same pace, and with the same aims. We are lucky to have residents with both high expectations and a willingness to volunteer and help each other, including working with the city council on so many of the local and national challenges facing Cambridge – particularly helping those in need and those who find themselves homeless, reducing their carbon emissions, campaigning for national action on climate change and so much more.

“Despite our bounce back economy and a community that cares so deeply, the next few years are going to be very challenging for both the City Council and for Cambridge. Particularly because the Government continuously denies adequate funding for local authorities. Especially during COVID, but also before the pandemic.

“The new leader will have my full support as we continue to make the changes and improvements needed for our city. Assisted, of course, by our work alongside Daniel as our MP, our Universities and businesses, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, as well as Mayor Nik Johnson and the Combined Authority. Those partnerships are crucial to the way we work, and we value them very highly.

“We will continue to work together, to improve life for residents and businesses in the city that we all love, Cambridge.”

The four candidates to succeed Lewis as leader of the Labour Group, who will then be proposed as Council Leader at a special council meeting in November, are;

  • Cllr Rosy Moore (Coleridge), Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre
  • Cllr Martin Smart (King’s Hedges), Non-Statutory Deputy Leader and Chair of Planning Committee
  • Cllr Anna Smith (Coleridge), Statutory Deputy Leader and Executive Councillor for Communities
  • Cllr Katie Thornburrow (Petersfield), Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport

Labour Councillors will meet next Tuesday evening to elect a new Labour Group leader. Plans are in place for Cllr. Herbert to support the new leader into 2022, allowing them a smooth transition. Lewis will continue as a City and Coleridge ward councillor.

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