IT’S rather sad for the Conservatives to be losing Kirsty Roberts, the councillor who resigned this week in Hampstead Town. But it’s not just the Tories who will know why. Members in other groups will be keenly aware that she falls into the more progressive group of councillors determined to make the most of the role while they are at the Town Hall (regardless of which political party they represent).
You see, there is a clear difference between councillors who coast through their four years on the council, hardly uttering a word at meetings and rarely seen out campaigning (we all know who we’re talking about), and those who put their back into it. Kirsty was one of the latter and that earns respect from opposing groups.
In Kirsty’s case, she got her teeth into licensing controls and then, horrified by things she had learned about human trafficking, she campaigned against modern day slavery. I used to joke with her that she, Lulu Mitchell and Rebecca Hossack, who quickly struck up a warm friendship, were livening up the Conservative group during their four years as elected councillors up to 2010. They made a change from men in suits addressing themselves by their surnames, but Kirsty wasn’t just in it for the lovely parties held in Rebecca Hossack’s gallery in Fitzrovia.
She put the hours in and on the face of it that attitude led to a workload she struggled to juggle. She needed some ‘me time’ and will ultimately relocate to the United States. She can say hello to the last councillor to resign, Labour’s Thomas Neumark, over there.
Lib Dem councillor Keith Moffitt told me once that to be a councillor properly, really properly, takes at the very, very least an extra 15 hours a week on top of your professional work. It is during weeks like this that you wonder how many of us could find that number of hours to devote on top of a day job?