It will be politics as usual despite the resignations of two longstanding Conservative councillors, Harrow’s senior Liberal Democrat said this week.
The comments by Councillor Christopher Noyce came following last week’s announcement that Harrow Council leader David Ashton and his wife Marilyn, who represents Stanmore Park, will not contest the upcoming election.
Councillor Noyce, the leader of Harrow’s Lib Dems, told Stanmore Politics the decision would not mean any significant policy change but made things ‘interesting’. He said the news had come as a surprise and that Marilyn had always ‘steered a distinctive course’ in respect to planning matters.
“The Tories will need a new leader,” said the Rayners Lane representative. “It’s quite interesting because the current deputy [Councillor Susan Hall] only won by one vote.
“So there are quite interesting possibilities for the new leader.”
The councillor said he did not expect to see much or indeed any change in the style of politics in the borough.
“The Ashtons may be gone but I don’t see any significant changes.”
Councillor Noyce said his party hoped to make gains in May’s council elections and were likely to contest more than 60 candidates. He said the election could be more interesting than usual.
“If the general election happens on the same day [voter] turnout will be up,” he said.
Turnout in Harrow, as elsewhere in the country, is typically low for local election. But he said the national contest could mean up to 70 per cent of people cast a vote.
The Councillor said the constituency boundary changes, which come into force for this election, would make a difference to Harrow’s parliamentary election. Under the changes, Harrow East will be reduced in size and Hatch End, Pinner and Pinner South residents will choose an MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner.
Councillor Noyce is one of two Lib Dem’s sitting on Harrow Council.