Didn't want the handful of loyal readers here (some of who might be interested in what I do in the real world) to miss out on the news!
I told Bradford's Conservative Group this evening that I will be stepping down as Group Leader after this May's elections.
Here's the rest of the statement:
Some while ago I decided that I wouldn’t be standing for re-election when my current term as councillor finishes in 2019. Because of the way in which the Party’s approval and selection process works these days, I would have needed to tell the Shipley Association of this intention some time in June or July this year. I think it would be wrong to stay on as leader running up to an election in which I’m not standing......
In May 2019 I will have been a councillor for 24 years and, for me, that’s long enough. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it but rather that it’s probably best to stop while that’s the case. I also think that a new leader would inject some extra drive. I wrote a little list of things that needed to happen for the Group and the Party in Bradford and, having looked at the list, concluded by saying to myself: “Simon, this stuff is important but do you really want to do these things?”
Making the decision now gives you all the chance to have a discussion - a thoughtful a civilised discussion, I hope - about who should lead the Group.
Can I thank you all for your support over the time I’ve been leader. I know it’s hard to point at successes when we’re in opposition but I think we’ve kept the Conservative flag flying when Labour could have sidelined us. We’ve prevented the Labour Party getting its way over devolution and imposing a Labour elected mayor based in Leeds. We’ve seen the national government recognise Bradford - it was the first northern city mentioned by the Prime Minister recently - and helped get investment in infrastructure, education and housing. We perhaps make too little of the millions invested by a Conservative government in the city. Above all the electorate still believe that the prospect of a Conservative-led city is a real one and that is a credit to the efforts of all of you in the Group.