Chris Vince quits as leader of Harlow Labour after failing to regain council

News / Sun 5th May 2024 at 03:36pm

CHRIS Vince has quit as the leader of Harlow Labour.

The decision comes after Labour failed to regain control of the council following the district council election on Thursday night.

There was great expectation and this was heightened with the visit of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (and the nation’s media) to the town on Wednesday.

One got the impression that Labour thought it would be 21 Labour to 12 Conservative. Instead it ended 17 Conservative and 16 Labour.

When the count had finished, Councillor Vince was expected to speak to the assembled media but he left without a word.

At a meeting of Harlow Labour members and councillors held on Sunday 5th May Cllr James Griggs was elected as the new group leader on Harlow council and Cllr Lanie Shears was elected as deputy leader.

Cllr James Griggs said: “It is a great honour to have been entrusted with the confidence of my colleagues to lead Harlow Labour group. We will work tirelessly for Harlow residents and continue to promote our agenda for positive change, including getting the basics right. Something that has resonated greatly from innumerable doorstep conversations during the recent campaign.

Since I was first elected in 2022 I have shown that I will promote subjects and work on a non partisan basis with the Conservatives on issues where we can agree. For the good of our town, I hope there will be many more such opportunities. However, we will continue to hold the Conservatives to account as they make yet more reckless decisions and fantasy statements about their plans for our town.

Be it financial incompetence, proposing to demolish buildings they don’t own, falsely claiming to have cleared a housing repair backlog or, extraordinarily, seeking to make commercial decisions on behalf of M&S, we will be there demanding clarity and honesty from them.

They promised that, if they were re-elected, we would see the rebuilding of our town centre “begin within days”. Well, we’ll let them take the Bank Holiday off but we’ll expect to see tangible work starting on Tuesday.  

“These local elections were bad for Harlow Conservatives, they lost four seats to Labour. The status of who controls the council remains uncertain until Harlow Conservatives conclude their investigation into the allegations against Cllr James Leppard. Having claimed to have suspended him from their party they then included him in their numbers to claim a majority last Thursday. We are currently in a state of suspended chaos. This is not good for the council or the town and urgently needs to be resolved.

I’d like to thank Chris Vince for nominating me to succeed him as leader, I have big shoes to fill. His service, leadership, commitment to our town and his work ethic is something to which councillors of all political persuasions should aspire. It is his assured leadership that has put us in the position of taking these seats from the Conservatives. He’ll make a fantastic MP for our town.

And now, to work”

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Harlow and the Villages Chris Vince said: “It has been a huge honour to lead Harlow Labour group for the past three years culminating in an excellent set of local election results last week which saw huge gains for the group and the Conservatives losing their majority on the council. 

However, with Labour taking the popular vote and a general election imminent, in which the incumbent conservative MP has announced he will not stand, my priority must be to concentrate on winning that general election and giving the people of Harlow and the Villages the representation in Westminster that they deserve.

I am delighted that Cllrs Griggs and Shears will be taking up the baton of leading our party in the council chamber, I know how much they care about our town and the residents in it.

“I’d also like to put on record my thanks to Cllr Tony Edwards who has been an incredible support to me and the group in his role as deputy leader.”

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16 Comments for Chris Vince quits as leader of Harlow Labour after failing to regain council:

2024-05-05 15:55:25

Anyone who thinks the conservatives will do anything which means they do not have control of the council is living in cloud cuckoo land

2024-05-05 16:30:54

Good luck to you Mr Vince.

2024-05-05 17:23:43

Rejected by Colchester, Rejected as Essex PCC, Rejected by Harlow, anyone spot a pattern

Kim Oconnor
2024-05-05 18:42:23

Jezz there goes another.

2024-05-05 20:05:52

Chris is a decent honest man. We could do more of his Like. Good luck Chris John (Tory voter)

Alex Kyriacou
2024-05-05 20:18:14

Chris has been an incredible leader and mentor to me. I can’t wait to get him elected as MP for our incredible town and surrounding villages. He took us from wipe-out three years ago to a position of denying the Tories a majority on the council, a position where Labour are well-poised to continue campaigning for control of the council. People need only look at the incredible way he represents Little Parndon to understand how incredible he would be as our MP. As Cllr Griggs said, now - to work.

2024-05-05 21:11:18

Harlow always lags behind public opinion. The whole rest of the country is ready to accept Labour and Harlow is still saying "Boris was robbed. He did nothing wrong." Head in the sand, believing the propaganda from the Daily Mail.

Brian Wilson
2024-05-05 23:04:47

Neither Labour or Conservative done anything for me in Harlow, its a pity the Green Party didn't get in give then a chance.

2024-05-06 04:14:33

Bye Bye Mr Hot Air............Labour by name.....LIEbour by nature.....

Robert James Findlay
2024-05-06 05:02:06

Chris You have a Heart 4 Harlow A work ethic and commitment for the area like Robert Halfon. I enjoyed working with both of you when I was the Town Chaplain. Chris Vince you will be a great MP for Harlow I remember you in my prayers Robert

2024-05-06 07:48:58

Shame Chris/so close - will do it next run! James, what an excellent person to take over!

2024-05-06 08:42:38

Alex. He never took you from wipe out. The tory government done that with their rubbish governing. C Vince was never the right man for Harlow Labour. At the Hustings he was hopeless at convincing people to vote for him. And not having an alternative budget just 3months before the local elections killed off any chance for Labour. You could have so easily have won with a different leader.(and I am a tory voter).

2024-05-06 14:29:16

As a floater, I quite simply vote for who I think will do the best job. It seems like Chris has either cut and run from leading Harlow Labour at the first sign of trouble or there has been pressure from above. Either way whilst I am sure Chris is "nice bloke", do I want him representing me at Westminster, in an ever increasingly uncertain world ? The answer is no ! Over to the other parties, although I appreciate the talent pool may not be particularly deep !

2024-05-06 15:35:29

John,agree.Doesn't matter what your politics are,it's about being decent,honest,sincere,genuine kind etc.Chris has all this in spades.Have been shocked by the vicious,sneering bullying way senior people on the council attacked him in YH comments.How unprofessional.Says more about them than him.Constructively disagree with him ,yes,but don't attack him personally.Chris is a lovely man,not in his nature to be nasty.I really felt for him,must have been awful.Good luck Chris,i will vote for you(but why didn't you have a budget?!!!People kept asking over and over,rightly so.Sure this did for labour in the local election.)Sadly all the nasty tories are leading the council at the moment.Wish it was the decent ones.Keep positive Chris and don't sink to their level.

2024-05-06 16:57:11

Kerry,seems to be a successful politician and survive you have to practice low level behaviour!What an awful state of affairs.

Clark Renney
2024-05-07 10:52:06

Your report gives the impression that Chris Vince has stood down as a consequence of the Council Election results. In fact, Chris is relinquishing the role, which he has occupied with great integrity, to concentrate on campaigning to become Harlow's MP at the forthcoming General Election. Leadership of the Labour Group will now in the very capable hands of James Griggs. I have followed, and been involved in Politics for a very long time, and can honestly say that I have never met an activist who was so committed to his beliefs and his people as Chris Vince. Whatever you may think of his political stance, I can assure you that you will not find a man whose genuine concern for Harlow residents surpasses Chris. I very much hope that the results last week are the springboard to a Labour Council next time, and that Chris Vince will be the next Member of Parliament for Harlow...

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