Parties field contenders in Gospel Oak by-election after councillor resignation

Sean Birch said "family reasons" were behind his decision to resign as a Gospel Oak councillor.

Sean Birch said "family reasons" were behind his decision to resign as a Gospel Oak councillor. - Credit: Archant

Voters will go to the polls in Gospel Oak after a by-election was triggered when former environment boss Cllr Sean Birch resigned last week citing “family reasons”.

The by-election in the traditional Labour stronghold will be held on March 14.

Cllr Birch said: “I’ve moved out of the borough and live in Barnet, I have other work commitments and there are a few family issues I am dealing with.

“Everyone has times when they want to focus on family for a while and I’m at a stage where I need to do that.”

Cllr Birch was promoted to Camden Council’s cabinet as environment chief, but lost his place in the party’s inner circle in a re-shuffle in May last year.

The Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party have all selected their candidates for next month’s vote.

Single mum Leila Roy, 31, of Savernake Road, Gospel Oak, has been selected to stand as the Conservative contender.

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Originally from France, the freelance TV researcher is a council tenant and former Labour Party member who has since turned her back on the party after facing difficulties with Camden’s Council’s housing team.

Labour’s candidate is Camden resident Maeve McCormack who works for a charity supporting people with incurable and long-term conditions.

She has been a governor for more than a year at St Dominic’s Primary School, in Southampton Road, Gospel Oak.

Standing for the Liberal Democrats is retired health authority chief executive Laura Noel, 61, of Courthope Road, Gospel Oak and the Green Party candidate is life-long Gospel Oak resident Constantine Buhayer, of Rona Road, who works as a teacher and radio contributor.

See the picture gallery (above right) for images of the four candidates standing in next month’s by-election.