Large Hadron Collider scientist Dr Louis Corpe quits his council seats in Bishop's Stortford for CERN research role
Research physicist Louie Corpe has resigned as an East Herts and Bishop's Stortford councillor to take up a cutting-edge science role at the world-famous CERN in Switzerland.
The Liberal Democrat's decision means electors in Stortford's All Saints ward are set to vote on his replacement in by-elections as part of local elections on Thursday May 6, when residents across the town will choose their Herts county councillors and police and crime commissioner.
Dr Corpe was elected to East Herts Council in May 2019 as one of three Lib Dems who unseated the Conservatives in All Saints. He was also one of five party members who won seats on the town council.
He said in a statement on Tuesday (Mar 16): "On Sunday (March 14), I stepped down from my position as the councillor for All Saints ward in Bishop's Stortford for both East Herts District Council and Bishop's Stortford Town Council.
"I wanted to use this opportunity to explain my reasons for taking this difficult decision. As residents may remember from my election campaign literature, I am an experimental research physicist by profession. I work on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, in Geneva, looking for new particles in the collision data.
"I recently had the honour of being awarded a prestigious CERN senior research fellowship, which will involve spending the next two years developing and prototyping a new type of detector for future high-energy physics experiments.
"The technical nature of the project means that I will need to relocate to the Geneva area for the next two years, starting immediately, with my wife and infant daughter moving with me.
"Although council meetings are being held virtually at present, I do not feel it would be fair on the residents of All Saints ward for me to try to represent them from abroad.
"Although I am disappointed not to be able to serve a full term, I strongly believe that it is in the best interests of the people of Bishop's Stortford for their representatives to be accessible to them. That's why I'm resigning now so that any by-elections can be called in time to coincide with the scheduled county council elections in May."
Dr Corpe, 31, will be moving to Switzerland with wife Emma, 32, and their daughter Nora, who is almost four-months-old. Two-year-old whippet Wally will also be making the trip.
As a district councillor, he served on the audit and governance committee, and his town council roles included seats on the environment and public amenities and finance and policy committees.
He said: "Serving as a councillor and representing All Saints ward for the last two years has been a great honour, and I once again wish to thank the residents of the ward for the trust they placed in me. I am proud of my achievements on both town and district councils during this time."
Dr Corpe said he had pushed green issues at both tiers of local government, working on a new environmental policy for the town council and helping to secure a commitment to carbon neutrality by 2030 from East Herts.
Sustainable transport has also between a priority along with residents' parking zones, and he campaigned for fair funding for the Citizens Advice.
He said he had fought for "inclusivity, transparency and equal opportunity across the councils".
He thanked officers at both councils for their professionalism and expertise, and paid tribute to Cllrs Mione Goldspink and Bob Taylor, his party leaders at district and town respectively.
Dr Corpe said: "I would also like to thank councillors of all parties for maintaining a collegiate attitude, even when we disagreed on policy."
* The 23-member state European Organisation for Nuclear Research, known as CERN (derived from the French Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire), was established in 1954 in a suburb of Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border. It operates the largest particle physics laboratory which, in 2019, had 2,660 scientific, technical and administrative staff members, and hosted about 12,400 users from institutions in more than 70 countries.