Hackney’s Lib Dem membership unveils new top table as membership jumps from 138 to 700 in two years

Hackney Lib Dems' new top table includes chair Geoff Payne (centre) and vice-chairs Darren Martin an

Hackney Lib Dems' new top table includes chair Geoff Payne (centre) and vice-chairs Darren Martin and 'Hackney heroine' Pauline Pearce, known for her role stopping rioters targeting East End businesses in 2011. Pictures: Hackney Lib Dems/Isabel Infantes - Credit: Lib Dems/Isabel Infantes (RH pic only)

Membership of Hackney’s Liberal Democrat group has soared more than 500 per cent since the 2015 election according to its new vice chair.

The local party hit a record low headcount of 138 in 2015, but has built that up to more than 700 since.

It came after a drop of 54 per cent from 300 members in 2010.

The party has a new chairman in Geoff Payne and three new vice chairs: Simon de Deney; “Hackney heroine” and 2018 Hackney mayoral candidate Pauline Pearce; and Darren Martin, who confirmed the membership figures to the Gazette.

“This is a very exciting time to be chairing Hackney Liberal Democrats,” said Mr Payne. “Over the past six years we have had two referendums – on both occasions Labour were unsure and divided while Hackney voters showed decisively they are very much in the Liberal camp in supporting a fairer voting system and for remaining in the EU.”

He added: “We need to work hard to tackle the everyday struggles of the people in our borough.

“We need a police force that is better resourced and is joining up with the communities that it serves and we need more youth service facilities for local young people. We need to slow down the gentrification of Hackney that is driving local people out of the borough.”

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Mr Martin added: “We will be working with our members to help develop a working opposition that can not only hold the town hall to account but can be a genuine council in waiting.”