FIRST Chris Philp, now Ed Fordham. The Liberal Democrat who made the 2010 election battle for Hampstead and Kilburn a three-way contest has told colleagues that he too will not stand again for the seat next time around. As Glenda Jackson plans to retire at the next general election, it will mean three new faces will fight out our high-profile constituency. The Lib Dems are expected to have a candidate in place before Christmas.
Ed told party members in a letter this weekend:
I wanted to write to you about a decision I have made. For many years I have worked to advance the cause of liberal democracy in Camden and Brent and the success has been astonishing and significant. That work will continue.
Particular highlights have included the election and indeed re-election of Sarah Teather – against the odds on both occasions – the election of Liberal Democrat led administrations in both Camden and Brent and achieving the closest result ever for Liberal Democrats in Hampstead and Kilburn – just 841 votes short of winning – in May 2010.
These were all election results – but the other campaigns, what I call the real campaigns – have been energising and exciting: saving Hampstead Police Station in 2009 and persuading the Metropolitan Police to withdraw their plans to sell it for housing and a restaurant, injecting new life into Kilburn Grange Park, working with residents on a range of street festivals including South End Green, The Jester Festival, Swiss Cottage Festival and Queens Park Day, serving on the Hampstead Heath Management Committee and as a local school governor. These and many more have been great experiences and on the whole successful…
To achieve these I have had to make a number of personal and professional sacrifices and it is to these that I am now turning my attention. I am delighted to say that I have more work than I can realistically manage and that I am involved in a range of groups and organisations from which I get a real buzz and energy and that I would like to make a sustained success. Much of this work is taking me abroad for sustained periods of time and this requires a different level of commitment.
Particular objectives for me include:
l writing my next book on the First World War (including personally transcribing over 300 letters)
l driving forwards the activity of the Kilburn History Festival and the Historic Kilburn Plaque Scheme
l developing the reach and network of the Liberal Democrat Forum for Africa l working with LGBT+ Liberal Democrats, particularly during the the legislation for equal civil marriage.
For these reasons I will not be seeking selection to be the Liberal Democrat candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn at the next General Election in 2015.
The next General Election will be another critical election for the country and for the local area. With MP Glenda Jackson not seeking re-election the result here in Hampstead and Kilburn will be up for grabs again and it will be a genuinely open contest. No one party has a full claim to this seat and all parties will contest it to win. But these are all factors that mean the Liberal Democrats should select a candidate soon who will have the time and drive to lead a winning campaign.
The forthcoming Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Brighton is a good opportunity to start those conversations to secure the best possible field of candidates for the constituency.
I will of course play my role in that campaign to secure a Liberal Democrat victory in Hampstead and Kilburn, but this time around as a foot soldier rather than as the standard bearer. I am grateful to the thousands of people who showed their confidence in me by voting for me, but the members of the Liberal Democrats were phenomenal in giving their time, their donations, their sweat, their advice and their smile on so many occasions. It was a great honour and I’m incredibly grateful for the support I received.