Gospel Oak by-election: Labour and Lib Dem candidates focus on air, schools and Brexit

Marcus Boyland. Picture: Marcus Boyland

Marcus Boyland. Picture: Marcus Boyland - Credit: Archant

The Labour Party and Liberal Democrats have announced their candidates for the Gospel Oak by-election – with clean air, school funding and anti-social behaviour among the main issues.

Stephen Crosher. Picture: Stephen Crosher

Stephen Crosher. Picture: Stephen Crosher - Credit: Archant

Renewable energy worker Stephen Crosher has been selected for the Lib Dems, while researcher Marcus Boyland was picked by Labour.

The election, which will be held on May 4, was called after Labour councillor Maeve McCormack resigned earlier this month because she could no longer afford to live in Camden.

Mr Boyland, 48, said he was “super pleased” and “really made up” about being selected.

The Kentish Town resident told the Ham&High: “I want to focus on the anti-social behaviour of young adults – it’s worrying residents and we don’t want it to build up.

Marx de Morais Picture: Marx de Morais

Marx de Morais Picture: Marx de Morais - Credit: Archant

“But I also want to see the regeneration of the Queen’s Crescent area and obviously the market.”

He added: “We want regeneration of the housing and the estates.”

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Asked about the controversial council policy to make rubbish bin collections fortnightly for parts of the borough – including most of Gospel Oak – he said it was important to encourage recycling.

“Most other local authorities have a similar system and I think most people will agree with our decision in the future,” he said.

For Mr Crosher, the first priority is fighting a “hard Brexit” and campaigning to guarantee the rights of Camden’s EU citizens.

He said: “The Tory Government is taking Camden down the route of hard Brexit, supported by an ineffectual Labour opposition.

“This will damage Camden’s diverse communities, our creative industries, our world leading universities and hospitals. Entrepreneurs will choose other places to go. Cuts to public services and social care will continue.”

He added: “In the week that Article 50 is triggered, I urge Gospel Oak residents to support the Lib Dems, as the only party opposing hard Brexit.”

Mr Crosher, who also lives in Kentish Town, said his other priorities were for cleaner air and better-funded education.

“Poor air quality is affecting our children’s health in Camden,” he said, adding that “much, much more” could be done by Camden Council.

On education, Mr Crosher said the council “has choices” on where to allocate funds in the face of government cuts.

“I will fight these cuts, highlighting the impact on disadvantaged kids in Camden,” he said.

He also attacked the council for taking months and “sometimes years” to fix broken playground equipment and for “cutting youth services and provision”.

“Camden Labour is arrogant and complacent and has taken voters in Gospel Oak for granted,” he said.

“This election is a chance to show your disappointment and anger with both an arrogant Labour Council and the harsh, hard Brexit Tory government.”

The Conservatives have already selected Marx de Morais as their candidate, while the Greens are expected to announce theirs soon.

Polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm.