Councillor's surprise departure over work pressure
A popular backbench councillor has resigned in an unexpected move, saying work pressures have not left him enough time for politics.
Damian Edwardson’s departure as a representative for Shevington With Lower Ground ward was announced at Thursday’s full council meeting.
During his five and a half years in the council chamber he was an outspoken presence who sometimes clashed with the Labour party and local government officers on policy.
He said he was proud of getting elected and spoke of what he had achieved, saying he regarded his work on health in the Heart of Wigan project as his proudest moment.
He also said stepping down to concentrate on his full-time job in IT in Manchester was not an easy decision but one he had been thinking about for some time.
Mr Edwardson said: “Out of respect to the role and all those I that I am elected to serve it is only right that I step away and allow someone else with more time to take up the challenge.
“Being elected as a local councillor was on both occasions one of my greatest personal achievements and although I have not always agreed with the council or my own group, I am proud to say that I have always represented the views of my community and never compromised my principles.
“Although I have been involved in many pieces of work such as welfare reform and leading Wigan Council’s response to the Refugee Crisis Appeal, I will always view the improvements to the local health profile as my single greatest achievement.
“This has been a very difficult decision but I know it is the right one for me and more importantly for my ward colleagues and all those we represent.”
Wigan Council leader Lord Smith said: “Damian Edwardson has made a valuable contribution to the council as a whole through his work on welfare and has sought to represent the interests of local residents both within the ward and to the council.
“He has had to face up to the dilemma of many younger colleagues - the choice between employment and council work. He has decided to concentrate on his employment and we wish him well in the future.”
In his resignation statement Mr Edwardson thanked council chief executive Donna Hall and her officers, his Labour colleagues and in particular his fellow ward representatives Coun Paul Collins and Coun Mike Crosby, saying they had made "a formidable team".