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Election: Lib Dem bloodbath sees leaders voted out as Labour ‘paints Haringey red’

Haringey resoundingly backed Labour in the local elections. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive Haringey resoundingly backed Labour in the local elections. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

Friday, May 23, 2014
11:18 AM

Haringey’s Liberal Democrat leader and his deputy have lost their seats in an electoral bloodbath which has seen the party lose 60 per cent of their councillors, leaving Labour to “paint the town red”.

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Cllrs Richard Wilson and Katherine Reece were among the casualties in last night’s council election, which saw Labour increase its hold on the borough by 14 seats on the 2010 vote.

Labour made considerable gains in the west of the borough, while consolidating their power in the east.

The Lib Dems were apparently a victim of the national party’s alliance with the Conservatives.

Cllr Wilson, who had held his Stroud Green seat for eight years, said: “We have never fought an election whilst in government before, and we probably never expected to. But we have found out one thing; when the pendulum swings, it can swing quite hard.”

Just one ward - Highgate - elected an entirely Lib Dem team. Labour took a seat each in Muswell Hill and Fortis Green, and two seats each in Crouch End and Alexandra wards - all previously Lib Dem strongholds.

Labour also wrested complete control of Hornsey and Stroud Green wards - kicking out the Lib Dem leader and his deputy in the process.

Just eight years ago the Liberal Democrats held 27 seats and appeared to be on the verge of unseating Labour, which has now been in control of Haringey for 43 years. Today it holds just nine, its lowest result since 1998. Nevertheless, the diminshed group remains the only opposition to Labour as Greens, Conservatives and the TUSC all failed to win over enough voters.

Lynne Featherstone, the Lib Dems’ MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, left the election count as the sheer scale of her party’s losses became clear.

Just a few hours earlier she had guested on the BBC’s election coverage, admitting the national party had “lost some of our humanity” since joining the Coalition Government.

As Labour victory followed Labour victory in Alexandra Palace’s Palm Court, cheers and chants rang out and an almost palpable party atmosphere emerged. The Lib Dem contingent withered as the night gave way to dawn, and those who remained were withdrawn, gathered around their soon-to-be-deposed leader.

An elated Cllr Kober took to the stage after the final result - 48 Labour seats to the Lib Dems’ nine - was confirmed.

“There is painting the town red and then there is painting the town red!” she said, to loud cheers.

“I think looking at this evening’s results we can say with some conviction that the love affair with the Lib Dems in Haringey is well and truly over.”

She added: “Pavement politics I can deal with, but the politics of smears and the politics of the gutter has no place in Haringey... The people of Hornsey and Wood Green have firmly put Lynne Featherstone on notice.”

+ Keep an eye on this site for more news and analysis from the election later today.

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