Lewisham’s only Green Party representative is standing down from his position after a 12-year tenure.
Brockley Councillor Darren Johnson will not be running for re-election in 2014, but will keep his seat as a London Assembly member.
Johnson said he will remain “strongly involved” with the Green Party and will campaign with the three new Green candidates in Brockley – John Coughlin, Matt Hawkins and Violeta Vadja – in the build-up to the forthcoming elections in May 2014.
When asked why he had chosen to step down, Johnson said his decision was not politically motivated.
He said: “I’ve been a busy councillor for 12 years, I’ve enjoyed it immensely and have found it rewarding.”
“I am looking forward to having a little more free time for myself.”
Johnson joined the Green Party at the age of 20 following the Chernobyl disaster of 1987, believing “the future had to be green to have a future.” He was then elected as Lewisham’s first Green councillor in 2002.
The Brockley councillor argued that the first-past-the-post electoral system made it “hard for small parties to make a breakthrough in local elections”.
He added: “It is more challenging for smaller parties… We are hoping to get more Greens elected in May.”
Currently, he is one of only two Green councillors in London, the other being Maya de Souza, a councillor from Camden.
When asked whether he had faced adversity during his career, Johnson said council chambers will naturally have party battles during debates, but he has “always managed to work with other councillors for the good of the local area”.
He said being a councillor had given him the “opportunity to work with people from different political backgrounds.” Johnson cited Saving Lewisham Hospital as a prime example of cross-party collaboration.
“The party stands for fair policies socially and sustainable policies environmentally – which continues to be the case today.”
The Councillor said he had worked practically with many community groups from tackling problems with pubs and off-licenses to planting trees.
Johnson added: “The communities in Brockley and New Cross are extremely supportive.”