Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why I Decided to Stand Down

After two and a half years as Conservative Group Leader, I have decided not to seek election to the post this year. This has not been an easy decision, but several factors have weighed heavily in my choice:

First, I want to devote more time to my constituency. The Leader's role is exciting and rewarding but it does entail a lot of meetings and desk work. I prefer to get out and meet people and I will be doing a lot of that in the coming year.

Second, I want to involve myself in more non political campaigns. City Hall is a pretty relaxed place when it comes to party whips - particularly compared to Westminster - nevertheless if I promote issues whilst I am still Group Leader, they are bound to be viewed as Conservative party policy, at least to some extent. I have been speaking fairly freely recently and want to do more of it.

Third, I believe that this is a good time to make a change, as we enter the final year of the Mayoralty. The atmosphere is likely to be more combative in coming months and the Group need someone who will take the fight to the opposition and lead the election campaign.

Leading the Conservative Group is a real privilege. Not only is it the largest group ever elected to City Hall - with eleven members - I also believe that it is the most able and experienced group ever elected. I have enjoyed great support from my officer team: My Deputy James Cleverly, whose 'can do' attitude is really refreshing and valuable in politics. My Whip Richard Tracey, who has given me fantastic advice during some tense and tricky negotiations. My office manager Robert Rams, who effortlessy runs a big and complex department, producing vital briefings and supporting some demanding members.

Finally, I would like to place on record my gratitude to all our professional researchers and caseworkers who carry much of our daily load.

And I have enjoyed working with Boris - a unique and positive experience from which I have personally learned a great deal.

The new team of officers will be elected by the Group on 29th March. I wish them well and undertake to give them my full support in the run up to the 2012 election and through Boris' second term.


Anonymous said...

I am not party political, but you will be a great loss to the Conservatives at City Hall Roger.

However the other groups and individuals that you will devote more time to will clearly be the winners in this. Lucky them!I like Dave Hill's comments on you today, they are very true.

I've appreciated all your help and effort, as have many others and will continue to do so.


Mrs Angry said...

Was it something I said? Or was it, shh: Shoegate? Have you had a visit from the men in grey suits (and brown shoes)?
Sorry you are standing down Rog: but it is probably a sign of robust mental health and the act of a decent man in an indecent world.

Anonymous said...

I am politically neutral. So wanted to thank the stuff you have dones for local groups.

Rog T said...


H'mm you really should reconsider. Do you think if I write to Brian Coleman and ask him to persuade you to change your mind it might help?

Seriously though, whilst I'm sure an endorsement from me is probably the last thing you need, I think you'll be a great loss to London. If I have to have a Conservative Leader of the GLA, I think you are the best candidate by a country mile. I just hope that endorsement isn't career ending.

Just out of interest, did Boris shouting Bollocks at you have any part in the decision? Got to ask

Roger Evans said...

Well, thank you all for the very positive feedback!

Annie, I was thinking of FTF amongst others when I mentioned independent campaigns. It's time we caught up...

Annie said...


I'm so glad you were thinking of us! I had hoped that we might be one of the lucky ones, but don't like to assume, nor take you for granted. There's going to be some hot competition for your time you know.

We'll speak very soon,I'll surprise you. Lots to tell.