Former Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor James Palmer quits politics after election defeat
Former Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor Conservative James Palmer is quitting politics following his loss to Labour’s Nik Johnson.
Mr Palmer, who was elected to the role in 2017, was defeated in the second round of the supplementary vote system in the race to lead the Combined Authority.
In a statement released on Twitter, Mr Palmer said: “I would like to thank the 94,000 people who voted for me to be mayor last week and congratulate Dr Nik Johnson on his victory.”
Mr Palmer said he is looking forward to “a life off the radar and out of the public eye”, adding he’d met some “incredible people in politics and some truly awful ones too”.
Mr Palmer had won the first round quite comfortably, with a 40.50 per cent share of the vote, but failing to secure a majority voting went on to the second round.
Liberal Democrat Aidan Van de Weyer, who had polled 26.68 per cent of the vote in the first round, was eliminated, and the second choice of voters who had opted for him were then counted.
These second preference votes were enough for Dr Johnson to topple Mr Palmer, who had been favourite to win and serve a second term.
Instead, Dr Johnson earned a total of 113,994 votes after the two rounds, with Mr Palmer securing 108,195.
Mr Palmer’s statement continued: “Politics has dominated my life for the last 14 years and it has been an incredible journey. As leader of East Cambs I restructured the council, making savings that has led to 8 consecutive years of council tax freeze.
“We delivered free parking, reformed Ely Markets, built Ely Leisure Village and drove the delivery of Ely Southern Bypass.
“As the first mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, I set up the authority from scratch and invested into all areas of the county fairly. Market Town Masterplans and Covid Grants have directly helped businesses across the county. While our Adult Education Scheme is helping those in the most need for the first time.
“A new technical university is being built in Peterborough, funded by CPCA, government and local business. And Soham Railway Station opens this year.”
“I went into politics to try and improve the lives of people in my area and as my responsibilities grew, so did the area I served.
“Now it is time to move on. I have met some incredible people in politics and some truly awful ones too! I very much look forward to a life off the radar and out of the public eye. I would like to thank all of my incredible team for their hard work and dedication to the cause.”
Mr Palmer followed the statement saying that it would be his last post on the platform and he would “joyfully delete” his account after today.
Don’t miss all the election analysis in the next issued of the Cambridge Independent