One of four Labour city councillors will be elected to succeed Councillor HerbertWikimedia Commons

One of four candidates is to be elected to succeed veteran councillor Lewis Herbert as leader of the Cambridge city council in a meeting of Labour council members tomorrow evening (12/09). This follows Herbert’s (05/10) announcement that he would be stepping down in November. 

The council operates like a miniature Parliament, with councillors performing a similar function to MPs, only representing wards instead of constituencies. To become council leader, your party has to win a majority of wards at a local election. Since Herbert is stepping down between elections, his party, Labour, will decide amongst themselves who is to replace him as leader. 

Meet the four candidates standing for the role: Councillors Rosy Moore, Martin Smart, Anna Smith and Katie Thornburrow. 

Councillor Rosy Moore

Moore, originally from Lambeth, was elected in 2016 to represent Coleridge, a ward in the South-East of the City. 

Since her election, she has been a tireless campaigner on climate change, introducing the Cambridge Climate Charter following the council’s declaration of a climate emergency.   

Moore has secured funding for new playground equipment at Lichfield Park, improved bus stop markings and unveiled more yellow lines to make people, not cars, a priority in the city. 

The councillor aims to continue these efforts if elected as council leader, to maintain the “strong partnership” between the University and the city to manage Covid outbreaks and to keep students safe. 

Councillor Martin Smart

Smart moved to Cambridge from Bristol in 1994. After years of community work, he won the King’s Hedges ward in 2014, where he has since tried to help the area recover from what he called a “failed administration”. The ward had “lost £11m in failed Icelandic banks investments, £645,000 in a mismanaged Folk Festival ticket sales contract, and then miscalculated the accounts by £1m, causing budget chaos...I knew a Labour administration would do much better.” 

After taking control of the City council in 2014, “the bins have been emptied, the streets cleaned, and, more importantly, we haven’t wasted city residents’ hard earned money.” 

When Varsity asked about his plans for Cambridge University students, he told them: “enjoy yourselves and bring life and vitality to the city”. 

Councillor Anna Smith 

After studying in Cambridge, Smith became a teacher at several local secondary schools. Motivated by the “sense of injustice” she felt at watching her Dad be told people on benefits were “shirkers”, since becoming a councillor she has scrapped funeral fees for Under 15’s and is currently working on a central food bank hub for those in need. 

When asked about her plans for students, she said she wanted to see “closer relationships” with them, including initiatives like “town halls” where the council gets to hear what students and staff need from them. 


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Councillor Katie Thornburrow

After completing her masters in Food Policy at City University, Thornburrow stood for election in Trumpington Ward and won it - the first time Labour had done so in 74 years. 

In a similar vein to the other candidates, Thornburrow is ambitious about the council’s sustainability efforts. A “green architect”, she wants everything the council does to consider its effect on nature - breaking the “green ceiling imposed by the Tories”. 

Cllr Herbert, the longest serving leader of the city council, said his time in the role had been the “greatest privilege” of his four decades of public service. He will stay on in his role as councillor for the Coleridge ward, which he has held since 2004, and added that his successor will have his “full support” in what he believes will be a challenging next few years for the city.