The decision of Chris Roberts to resign from the Council was a total surprise. Whatever may be written about him, now or in the future, no one can ignore the enormous contribution he has made to the Borough as Leader of the Labour Group.
It is important to look at the facts rather than any sense of negative perceptions one may have about him. He leaves the council with an extensive legacy that will impact on future generations.
We have worked closely together and with the Labour Group on many important legacy issues. We have never been “best buddies” and have had many differences of opinion but these have never impacted on the job in hand, which has been to secure a better future for those we represent.
People outside of politics find it difficult to understand what goes on in political groups, regardless of political colour. It is a simple fact that the things that unite us are greater than those that divide us. It should never be about personalities, but about our ethos and our values. Divided parties never win elections.
The coming election is about which party can best serve the interests of the Royal Borough of Greenwich; improving health and wellbeing, getting people out of the poverty trap, reducing homelessness and delivering vital local services. These will be the discussions on the doorstep that matter, nobody will be interested in the likely beauty contest to follow.
There will be speculation, of course, about who takes the legacy forward but at this point in time, everyone is concentrating on winning the maximum number of seats for Labour. Talking about the future leadership is simply a diversion.
Our common goal is to serve our communities by upholding the values and principles of the Labour Party. Following the election, there will be many new councillors bringing fresh perspectives and talents to the council and one of their first tasks will be to come to their own judgements about the new leadership of the council.
We have a proud record of achievement which has been down to the hard work of those in the Labour Group that have worked tirelessly to protect the community from the hostility created by this uncaring Conservative-led Coalition. Being elected as Councillor, for me in any case, has been a humbling process. I continue to be indebted to Party colleagues for nominating me and, if re-elected, look forward to continuing to serve those I represent.