Peter Campbell was unanimously elected by Thanet Council Labour Group to be Shadow Speaker on Regulatory Services and Ramsgate Marina. Many Labour councillors having seen Peter’s talents and workrate, have been asking him to take on a more senior position for some time. As a newly elected member in 2007 Peter wanted to ground himself first with the Council’s procedures and methods. So when he indicated he was prepared to let his name go forward as the phrase goes, everybody was happy.
Elected to represent Central Harbour Ward in Ramsgate, he lives in Ramsgate. He is one of the hardest working members of the Council, known for regularly attending meetings of Committees he is not even a member of. Chairs of meetings have become familiar with his assiduousness, and often call him to speak even when he is not a member of the committee, knowing how cogent and pertinent his points will be.
Peter is an expert on staffing issues. He worked with me at Overview and Scrutiny Panel to highlight Thanet Council’s poor management systems. Together we probed to ensure that the number of temporary staff working at the Council is now regularly reported and monitored. We similarly picked up on the lack of management control systems for monitoring the costs of consultants. In my opinion it is oversights like these by Conservative Cabinet members that have resulted in Thanet having one of the highest Council Tax increases in the country. How can you control a budget when you do not know how many consultants/temporary staff you are spending it on?
Peter worked in telecommunications as a manager in both the public and private sectors for 35 years, so has decades of experience of managing staffing budgets. He was also an active trade union member, his leadership skills being recognised as he rose to become London Regional Secretary of the Society of Telecoms Executives for 10 years. His superb negotiating skills are a big asset for Thanet Council. Having experienced the occasional rough and tumble of internal trade union politics, Peter greets the robust relationship between the Labour and Conservative parties on Thanet Council, more easily than some new members used to higher standards of conduct in their professional lives.
Peter is on the management committee of Ramsgate and Broadstairs sea cadets. You will often find him walking his whippet Charlie around Ramsgate’s parks, King George V is a particular favourite. This also gives him the chance to “walk his ward”. Peter is at the forefront of the campaign to save the Maritime Museum, and if you shop regularly in Ramsgate he will probably have asked you to sign a petition. With so many historical buildings to look after in his ward, Peter follows all Planning applications closely, often knocking on neighbouring residents doors when he sees a new planning application, to ensure Ramsgate loses none of its character and historical heritage.
Like me Peter is a keen gardener, and enjoys growing fresh tomatoes to eat straight off the vine. He reads historical biographies, and Oliver Cromwell is a particular hero for establishing Parliamentary democracy. Peter’s two grown up sons are both teachers, and Peter often educates us as Ramsgate Labour Party’s quizmaster. Personally Mitzi, Peter’s partner is a big supporter of Peter’s work in the community, and will often be found writing leaflets, drafting petitions or helping with constituents’ queries.
They have been engaged for 14 years. Peter jokes they don’t want to rush into things! He doesn’t rule out getting married to mark some significant local event such as the Turner Centre being completed, or Thanet Council having a below inflation increase in Council Tax. No immediate plans then.