A VICAR elected to the City of London's ancient Common Council
has pledged to tackle an institution that "uses its immense
resources to promote the interests of international finance
capital, often at the expense of poor people".
The Revd William Campbell-Taylor, Vicar of St Thomas's, Stamford
Hill, won the by-election for Portsoken, one of the City's 25
wards, standing as a Labour Party candidate, on Thursday of last
week. "My interest as a ward councillor for Portsoken is that this
system [should] serve the residents," Mr Campbell-Taylor said on
"It has two large housing estates, and they are in pretty poor
condition, with overcrowding problems, with problems of security,
cleanliness, vermin, and damp. They have basically been overlooked
by their respective landlords, and I want to do what I can to
ensure that they are looked after."
For several years, Mr Campbell-Taylor has campaigned for reform
of the City of London. Last year, he supported the City Reform
Group, which asked candidates standing for the Common Council to
sign up to five pledges, which included: "We will recognise our
responsibility to the common good."
The City of London is the local authority for the Square Mile,
but is described on its website as having "a wide remit that goes
beyondthat of an ordinary local authority". It "supports and
promotes the City as the world leader in international finance and
On Wednesday, Mr Campbell-Taylor said: "I think that the City of
London could be a real force for good in our national life. It has
deep roots; it has deep pockets; it has strong networks of
associations connected with it, such as livery companies. It is a
good example of civil society, but it has been captured by a single
interest, and I would like those institutions to serve the
consumers of the financial services, and serve the citizens of
London, not just through charity."
Mr Campbell-Taylor has previously been a member of the Common
Council, but as an Independent. Last week, he became the first
party-political candidate to be elected to the Common Council, an
event described by Professor Tony Travers, from the London School
of Economics, as a "minor revolution".
Mr Campbell-Taylor said: "I know how hard it is to be a
so-called Independent councillor in an institution whose focus is
towards the promotion of London as a financial hub." Standing as a
Labour candidate would help to "interrupt that consensus", he