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The upcoming council elections in Harrow just got more interesting. Harrow’s very own Hillary and Bill just announced they were leaving public life.

News comes that Stanmore Park councillor for the last 12 years, Marilyn Ashton, will not be contesting her seat in May. Ashton is also the council member responsible for planning, development and enterprise.

Along with her hubbie and Harrow Council leader for the past two years (and Belmont ward cllr), she will be standing down in May.

The couple, both Conservative councillors, have cited a desire to go to the theatre more as one of the reasons for leaving their seats.

Mr Ashton said the decision was a personal one which he had taken:

“to spend more time with Marilyn and the rest of my family, travel, as well as other professional activities.”

He added that being a councillor is an all encompassing role and said:

“We have enjoyed every minute of our twelve years serving Harrow residents. We have not been to the theatre for ten years and hope to change this situation after May as well as generally broadening our horizons.”

Michael Lockwood, Harrow’s chief executive wished them well. He praised Mr Ashton’s ‘excellent’ leadership, saying:

“He has given strong political direction for us to deliver cleaner and safer streets, building stronger communities and improve support for vulnerable people. He has also played a significant role in our improved finances.

“Marilyn has given a critical lead in her portfolio and the Planning Committee.”

Councillor Susan Hall also paid tribute to the husband and wife pairing. Harrow’s deputy leader said Mr Ashton’s financial background had been beneficial to the area.

“Part of his legacy is to have played a dominant role in putting the borough’s finances back on to a sound footing. I’d like to place on record my thanks for David and Marilyn’s tremendous work in leading the Council to a position where its improvements are now recognised across the local authority world.”

No word yet on who might stand to replace them, but watch this space for the latest updates.

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