Labour wipes out the Lib Dems to retain its stronghold over Hackney Council
- Credit: Archant
Labour councillors retained their stronghold of Hackney and utterly wiped out the Lib Dems, despite early fears from some in the party it might all go pear shaped.
Panic broke out amongst some Labour members at the Britannia Leisure Centre where the count was taking place yesterday, when Rosemary Sales lost her seat in Stamford Hill West - the second ward to be announced after Shacklewell.
Sales, a long-time stalwart and former Speaker, came fourth with 1,013 votes, after her Labour colleague Simon Dixon – both losing out in the area, which is home to a large Jewish community, to the incumbent Benzion Papier and Aron Klein with 1,469 and 1,468 votes respectively.
Labour councillors Chris Kennedy and newly elected Michelle Gregory expressed fear it could indicate a pattern of things to come - especially when they found out the next minute their party’s control over one seat in Dalston ward hung on a thread.
Alex Armitage for the Greens had lost out by just one vote to Labour’s Peter Snell.
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Former Labour Speaker Soraya Adejare had taken the other seat.
A nail-biting recount revealed Snell had beaten his opponent by 21 votes after all, racking up 978 votes, dashing Green hopes of getting a foothold in the council there.
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Results from the 21 wards came through thick and fast in Labour’s favour, until late afternoon when it was certain that Labour had 52 seats and the Tories had five - making political party representation even less diverse than before.
Incumbent Mayor Phil Glanville had been re-elected in the morning with a landslide of 42,645 votes.
One of the biggest upsets of the day came in Cazenove ward, where Labour gained three councillors at the expense of the Liberal Democrats, who lost their Hackney leader, Ian Sharer.
Isaac Kornbluh and Javed Isrolia also lost out.
This bucked the national picture which saw Lib Dems gain the most seats nationally, and completely wiped out the party in the borough and the ward where they have held seats for about 20 years.
In a joint statement the triumphant Labour trio, Caroline Woodley, Anthony McMahon and Sam Pallis, said: “We are jubliant that the north of the borough will now have meaningful representation.
“The main thing for us is we want the whole of the community to feel represented and we are going to be out there speaking to everyone from day one and achieving for the whole of the community.”
Diane Abbott, shadow Home Secretary and MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, who had turned up to lend her support with MP for Hackney South Meg Hillier, told the Gazette: “I’m absolutely amazed at how successful we have been but then I have seen all the hard work that had been done by the party workers, particularly in Cazenove, where I went knocking and received a lot of friendly comments from residents.”
But Cllr Harvey Odze of the Conservatives, who was re-elected in Springfield warned: “I think the Labour party has to watch their backs, especially in the wards where the Greens almost beat them.
“Maybe this will teach Jeremy Corbyn a lesson that he’s got to actually take some action and not just talk.”