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Live blog: Election results for Camden and Barnet

Polling station at Parliament Hill School. Picture: Dieter Perry Polling station at Parliament Hill School. Picture: Dieter Perry

Saturday, May 24, 2014
12:19 AM

Council candidates in Camden and Barnet have faced an anxious wait for the results of this year’s election, while the outcomes in Haringey and other London boroughs were delivered throughout the night.

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Today, the Ham&High will bring you all the latest election news and results as they are delivered in Camden and Barnet.

Follow us on Twitter via @HamandHigh and check our special Local Elections 2014 coverage.

Send comments via Twitter or to editorial@hamhigh.co.uk.

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12.10am: Time to wrap up our live-blog. As far as election battles go - that was as close and as nail-biting as they get. Barnet residents have voted for the Conservatives to take charge for another four years, but they’ve delivered a warning shot along the way. Labour made major gains tonight and were very close to winning what would have been a sensational victory. The Lib Dems have all but disappeared from Barnet - holding just one seat (and they were surprised they kept that).

Colindale will see its election at a later date - and some Labour campaigners we spoke to are not taking the “safe seat” talk for granted.

They will be looking to make sure there are no upsets there and that they add three more seats to their tally - leaving the Tories with a shaky majority of just one.

Tomorrow is yet another day for Barnet residents to enjoy or endure their Conservative council. But as Leader of the council Cllr Cornelius admitted: “It’s a brave new world for Barnet.”

23.45pm: Final result is in - Conservatives hold control of Barnet.

The Tories narrowly avoided what would have been a sensational victory for the Labour Party by winning two crucial seats in Childs Hill ward (previously held by three Lib Dems).

The Conservatives will now run Barnet with a majority of just one after Labour grew their share of the seats - including taking all three Conservative seats in East Barnet.

Barnet may not have changed administration - but it has seen changes in its political landscape.

Final count: Conservative (32 seats), Labour (27 seats) and Lib Dem (one seat).

Colindale - which has its election next month - should see Labour win three more seats.

See here for the full story: Tories narrowly hold onto Barnet in nail-biting election battle

10.45pm: So, the Tories have - unsurprisingly - retained all three seats in High Barnet. This gives them 30 seats. And Labour have 27 seats. But this is where it gets slightly complicated. Due to one candidate for Colindale dying, that ward will have its election next month. As it’s seen as a very safe Labour ward, its campaigners (and most probably the Conservatives’ too) are claiming all three seats for Labour. Which leaves them neck-and-neck with the Tories at 30 seats. The last remaining ward to be announced - Childs Hill - is currently being recounted. It is currently held by three Lib Dems, and they are not confident of keeping the seats. If Labour win two of the seats, they’ll be claiming a sensational victory in Barnet.

10.15pm: It’s getting very close here in Barnet. Labour hold West Hendon to put them neck and neck with the Conservatives, both so far winning 27 seats each. We await the last remaining results with a recount underway for the battleground that has become Childs Hill ward - currently home to three Lib Dem seats.

9.17pm: Two years ago this month he lost his Camden and Barnet London Assembly seat to Andrew Dismore. 12 months ago this month he was convicted of assault, prompting calls for him to exit public life. Today he seems to have done that – Brian Coleman, former Mayor of Barnet, has lost his seat on Barnet Council. Standing as an independent in Totteridge, he won just 265 votes.

9.08pm: By the way, for the election anoraks, all the votes for the key Camden wards can be found here. Who got the most votes of anyone? Labour’s Roger Robinson, St Pancras and Somers Town, with 2,511.

8.55pm: So all the results are in for Camden and it’s been a massive night for Labour, and a bloodbath for the Lib Dems. From 13 seats they have been left with just one councillor: Flick Rea. The council’s longest-serving member survives in Fortune Green, but she’ll be lonely in the council chamber. Perhaps the Green Party’s Sian Berry can keep her company. Berry takes one seat in Highgate, taking on the baton of being Camden’s solo green councillor from Maya De Souza, who stood down at this election.

Labour tightens its grip on Camden Council by profiting from 10 of the Lib Dem casualties, their number of seats rocketing from 30 to 40, while the Conservatives made a modest gain of two seats, gaining a stranglehold over the hillier parts of NW3 by removing Linda Chung from Hampstead Town and Tom Simon from Belsize. Full tallies:

Labour - 40 seats

Conservatives - 12

Liberal Democrats - 1

Green Party - 1

8.36pm: And we’re still waiting for those recounts. But things are getting interesting over in Barnet, with huge cheers erupting as Labour took all three seats off the Conservatives in East Barnet and one conservative-held seat in Hale. The party also managed to retain all three seats in East Finchley – where Labour leader Cllr Alison Moore stood. How it stands now: Con (8) Lab (13) Lib Dem (0) UKIP (0) Greens (0) Indep (0).

8.13pm: Maajid Nawaz, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, looks shell-shocked by the disaster at the polls suffered by his party in Camden. He concedes his general election fight will have to rely heavily on his personality rather than his party. He says: “I’m hoping people who vote in 2015 vote for what I bring.”

8pm: We’re waiting on two wards in Camden: Highgate and Fortune Green. Both having recounts. Labour have so far won 33 seats, the Tories are on 12.

7.55pm: Meanwhile in Barnet, despite bold predictions of results coming in from 4pm, we’ve only heard from a couple of wards so far. Conservatives keep all the seats to themselves in Hendon and Edgware. No word yet on Garden Suburb, Golders Green, East Finchley or Childs Hill.

7.40pm: No surprises in Kentish Town as three Labour incumbents, Meric Apak, Georgia Gould and Jenny Headlam–Wells, waltz to victory with an average of more than 2,000 votes each, their nearest challengers the Green Party candidates with about 800 each.

7.27pm: Confirmed: Tom Simon becomes the latest Liberal Democrat councillor to lose his seat, in Belsize ward, following a recount. Conservatives Jonny Bucknell and Claire-Louise Leyland hold onto their seats in Belsize, and are joined by fellow Tory Roy Leila. NW3 is looking very blue right now. Lib Dems still to win a single seat – could Fortune Green save them from a complete wipeout? Flick Rea is currently the longest continuously serving councillor on Camden Council – surely she will survive the cull?

7.04pm: The Greens could retain their one seat, in Highgate ward, despite the departure of Maya De Souza. The Green Party’s Sian Berry looks likely to replace her, although a recount is underway.

7pm: Still waiting on that Belsize recount. Lib Dem Tom Simon reportedly trailed by 24 votes on first run. “It’s a long shot, but that’s just one bundle of votes”, he told the Ham&High.

6.45pm: The results are coming thick-and-fast in Camden – and once again, it’s mostly bad news for the Liberal Democrats, who are perhaps paying for their national party’s unpopularity. Linda Chung, an ever-present, hard-working figure in Hampstead Town in recent years, has lost her seat, as the Conservatives take complete control of the ward. With Tory Chris Knight standing down before the election, Cllr Simon Marcus – who will also vie for the Hampstead and Kilburn parliamentary seat next year – has been joined by two Conservative newcomers in Tom Currie and Stephen Stark. Linda Chung took 1148 votes, losing out by 124 votes. Could become one of the highest tallies of a losing candidate in Camden.

6.22pm: Labour are storming it at the moment. They have just taken West Hampstead in a complete switch from the Lib Dems. Lib Dem leader Keith Moffitt loses his seat there by 139 votes. Labour have so far taken 24 seats, including several from the Lib Dems, who have zero. Perhaps Mr Moffitt’s prediction will come true. Conservatives kept their three in Swiss Cottage.

6.08pm: Gospel Oak, Cantelowes and Haverstock all go to Labour. Lib Dems Paul Braithwaite (Cantelowes) and Matt Sanders (Haverstock) lose seats.

5.55pm: It’s not been announced, but Hampstead’s one Liberal Democrat councillor Linda Chung concedes she has lost her seat to the Tories. “It was a massive block vote for the Tories based on general disillusionment with the Lib Dems and the spoiling letter about mansion tax which was totally incorrect. It’s a shame but that’s democracy for you.”

5.47pm: Currently waiting on a recount in Belsize ward.

5.38pm: First results in Camden – Labour retain all three seats in King’s Cross and also sweep the board in Bloomsbury. King’s Cross ward has three high profile councillors: council leader Sarah Hayward, crime chief Abdul Hai and mayor Jonathan Simpson. There is also a recount underway in Belsize ward.

5pm: First results in Camden are imminent apparently. Keith Moffitt continues the pessimism: “I’ll be pleasantly surprised if we keep a single seat.”

4.36pm: Green Party national leader Natalie Bennett buoyant in the press room and convinced the Greens will be overtaking the Lib Dems in Camden. “I think it’s quite clear across the borough that we are going to finish third, I’m pretty sure we will overtake the Lib Dems,” she says. But she is critical of the electoral system, blaming it for voter apathy: “It’s another example of the idiocy of first-past-the-post that we will have the third highest share of the vote but a lower number of councillors than the Lib Dems.” As for Highgate – the Green’s number one target and the scene of a real arm wrestle with Labour – she is less certain, adding: “Highgate is too close to call as far as I can see.”

4.25pm: Just spoke to Camden’s Lib Dem leader Keith Moffitt. Labour and Tory figures are already predicting trouble for Lib Dems in his ward, West Hampstead. Ham&High asks: “How are you feeling about today?”

He responds, “We’re doing cartwheels,” before adding: “That’s a stupid f***ing question.”

Fair point perhaps.

4.18pm: Conservative councillor Gio Spinella thinks the Greens are “supplanting the Lib Dems as Camden’s third party”. He adds that the Tories have “probably” ousted the one Lib Dem in Belsize and “stand a good chance” of doing the same in Hampstead Town. He said: “We are returning the areas we are traditionally strong in but we are struggling to break through in other areas. That’s going to require a sit down and re-think for the party in Camden.”

4.11pm: Barnet turnout is 39 per cent. Chris Apostolou, chairman of Ukip’s Barnet branch, is hoping for at least one seat. He said: “From what I’ve glimpsed so far, some seats look quite good for us, others not so good. We’d be very happy with one to three seats. But we’re in a very good mood given what’s happened nationally. I used to be a Tory supporter and donor – but I’d have a good laugh if Labour won overall control here in Barnet. It’s amazing how many Tory turned Ukip supporters really hate the Conservative Party – and the Tories don’t seem to realise that this hatred is hardening day by day.”

4pm: Overall turnout in Camden was 38.69 per cent, with 60,046 total ballots. Figure not yet given in Barnet.

3.45pm: Camden Council leader Sarah Hayward said she was “cautiously optimistic” of an increased Labour majority before the election. Having observed more than an hour of the count, she says she has “thrown caution to the wind” and is “confident” of an increased Labour majority.

Still a while to go until any results expected. Not before 4pm in Barnet or 5pm in Camden are the best estimates of council officers.

3.18pm: Could we be seeing an end to the controversial council career of Cllr Brian Coleman here in Barnet? The former Tory turned independent candidate for Totteridge seems to think so. He told the Ham&High: “I won’t win – I never expected to. But I’ve given them a run for their money, the buggers. And I’ve really enjoyed it. I don’t actually think the Tories will hold on to their control here. But I won’t shed any tears for an administration that wasted a golden legacy in 2010.”

That result would finally answer the calls of a certain Helen Michael.

3.04pm: From Ham&High reporter Paul Wright at the Barnet count: Liberal Democrats here in Barnet seem to have admitted defeat before any results have even come through. The party currently has three councillors in Childs Hill ward – and the Tories and Labour have both been looking to wrestle the seats from them.

Cllr Jack Cohen, Lib Dem leader and representative for Childs Hill, told the Ham&High: “I’m not feeling confident at all about our chances. I’ve seen what’s happened nationally... and in Brent. And I don’t think we’ll do well. We ran a first class campaign and we worked hard, but the Tories and Labour fought us hard in Childs Hill. As for overall control of the council? I think it will be tight...”

As the count gets well under way, Barnet Labour leader Cllr Alison Moore, representative for East Finchley, refused to be drawn into making predictions.

She told the Ham&High: “We ran a great campaign. But we will have to wait until the count.”

Barnet Conservatives seem less afraid to show their confidence, however.

“I think it will be tight but I’m confident we’ll keep control here in Barnet,” predicted Cllr Daniel Seal, representative for Garden Suburb.

“I’ve got a good feeling about it and we ran a good campaign.”

The first results are expected at about 4pm.

2.44pm: Belsize ward’s Cllr Jonny Bucknell sitting in the media room during the count. Says he hasn’t ‘got a clue’ about his chances. I think I was less nervous when my children were being born,” he says, before adding: “I’m cautiously optimistic.” The Tory councillor has won two and lost two Belsize elections in the past.

2.38pm: Highgate has by far the highest turnout in Camden. Selected figures (just Fortune Green yet to be announced):

Highgate – 49.95 per cent

Swiss Cottage – 34.67

Kentish Town – 40.75

West Hampstead – 38

Belsize – 38.26

Hampstead Town – 43.68

Gospel Oak – 40.7

Meanwhile, kids at Regent High School next door are apparently draining our shared internet bandwidth. Hopefully we will have more success than our colleagues at the Ham&High Broadway, who were grappling with networks in the connectivity blackspot that is Ally Pally all night.

2.24pm: Still waiting for full turnout figures, but in Highgate ward the figure was 49.95 per cent. Two more coming in as we write – Kentish Town had 40.75 per cent, Haverstock was 42.46 per cent.

2.09pm: Camden Council counting just getting underway at Somers Town Community Sports Centre. Officers are hopeful final results will come in about 8pm.

2pm: Welcome to the Ham&High’s live election blog. Click here to read about Haringey’s results, which came in overnight. The Lib Dems retained all three Highgate seats – but suffered shock losses in several other wards, with even the party’s leader on the council, Cllr Richard Wilson, losing his seat. Will Camden and Barnet’s results throw up similar surprises?

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