No not Lord Drayson.
Last night Hackney Town Hall was rocked by the sudden resignation from the council of Tory Group Leader Eric Ollerenshaw OBE, announced by means of a note slipped under the door stating he was no longer a councillor effective from midnight.
A shame he did not tell us last Wednesday at full council as it would have been good to say goodbye formally.
Eric has been a councillor for 17 years and led the Tories since the elevation of "Tory Joe/Mr Hackney" Lobenstein to the Mayoral chair in the mid '90s. The Tories in Hackney are not awash with talent so his departure leaves a bit of a gap for them. Rumour is that Harvey Odze and Maureen Middleton will compete for the leadership of the group in a clash of the municipal titans...
Eric, to his credit, always tried to stay on friendly terms with opponents even whilst enjoying a knockabout style of debating in the chamber. Again to his credit when Hackney was threatened with Government intervention if we did not appoint a stable leadership in 2000, he did the right thing and worked with Labour. To his discredit, much of the chaos that created that situation had been made worse by his "it's all a big game" attitude and willingness to take defectors from other parties of any calibre, however low, down to and including Isaac Leibowitz, who ended up as a convicted vote rigger.
Now there's going to be a council by-election in Eric's Springfield Ward in Stamford Hill - won by under 200 votes in 2006 and by only about 30 in the 2001 by-election - on better boundaries for the Tories - following Leibowitz's conviction.
Should be a competitive one, but a bit disruptive of my Xmas shopping. Apologies if it distracts me from blogging.
Eric is off to fight marginal Lancaster and Fleetwood for the Tories in the next General Election.