Tory leader set for election transfer from Hampstead to Belsize
- Credit: Polly Hancock
Camden Council’s opposition leader is set to change wards from Hampstead Town to Belsize.
Conservative councillor Oliver Cooper, who has represented Hampstead Town since 2015, has applied to switch the area he represents for elections to the town hall in May.
The Tory is hoping the tactical manoeuvre – Hampstead Town being a safer seat for the party – will bolster his party’s representation in Belsize.
The ward is currently split between two Liberal Democrats in Luisa Porritt and Tom Simon, and one Conservative in Steve Adams.
"It's been the honour of a lifetime to serve the people of Hampstead, and I look forward to winning voters' trust and earning another four years on Camden Council,” Cllr Cooper said.
The opposition leader said he won’t officially comment on council selections, as where he stands will be decided by party members.
He praised current Tory councillors including Stephen Stark (Hampstead Town) and Cllr Adams, claiming that any candidate standing alongside either would form a “dream team”.
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“I look forward to leading them in greater numbers and standing up for even more residents after May,” Cllr Cooper added.
The move comes as the electoral boundaries are redrawn, with part of Cllr Cooper's current Hampstead Town ward moving into Belsize, along with the part of Frognal and Fitzjohns which contains his family's home.
The opposition’s figurehead became leader following the 2018 elections in which the Tories were reduced to seven councillors.
For the upcoming election, Maria Higson will step down as Hampstead Town councillor due to personal reasons. “I have absolutely loved being a councillor for Hampstead,” she said.
“I've met and worked with some extraordinary people and I cannot thank them enough for their support and kindness.
“It's such an amazing role, and it's been a joy to be able to do things I'm truly proud of, and genuinely help people.”
Among the ranks of the Labour Party, which runs the council, Oliver Lewis will not put himself up for re-election in Highgate.
“It's been a fantastic privilege to represent Highgate on Camden Council over the last eight years,” he said.
“I'm really proud that we've invested in new school buildings and community facilities in Highgate ward, and also that we're building new affordable homes, and I'm pleased that we could help local people and community groups through some tough times in the last 18 months.”
Elections to Camden Council will take place on May 5, 2022.