Local Elections 2018: Labour Party tightens grip on Camden Council

Camden Labour celebrate after a successful local elections night at Somers Town Community Sports Cen

Camden Labour celebrate after a successful local elections night at Somers Town Community Sports Centre - Credit: Harry Taylor

Camden Labour defied their nerves early in the night to take three seats from the Conservative Party, with one ward still yet to declare.

The Labour Party is in its strongest position for years on Camden Council, as Georgia Gould’s party took three seats in Swiss Cottage, and made inroads into Conservative majorities elsewhere in the borough.

However earlier in the night there were fears the opposite would be the case. Party insiders were concerned they may lose a seat in Highgate to the Green Party, and another to the Liberal Democrats in Fortune Green.

Yet as the night wore on, increased majorities in typically Labour areas helped calm nerves, and their initial fears weren’t realised.

In the end, their representation in both wards was the same as before voters went to the polls yesterday. Sian Berry topped the ballot in Highgate, and Oliver Lewis and Anna Wright were elected. This is Cllr Wright’s first election to the council.

Meanwhile in Fortune Green, it was a case of ‘as you were’. Lib Dem leader and stalwart Flick Rea led the pack, as both Lorna Russell and Camden finance chief Richard Olszewski crept home. The votes for the Lib Dems’ Adrian Bridge and Tracey Shackle were enough to cause a scare, but didn’t claim any scalps.

The results at the council in Somers Town Community Sports Centre was a tough night for the Conservative Party.

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The loss in Swiss Cottage has reduced them to a rump in the chamber. Among those to lose was long-standing councillor Don Williams, who was elected in 2002. While Tory leader Gio Spinella won his seat in Frognal and Fitzjohns, he could only look on deflated as the results were announced elsewhere. He left the count early before the final declarations.

The situation may become more grave for the party, as Belsize ward goes to a recount.

Re-elected Hampstead Town councillor Oliver Cooper said: “It’s been hugely disappointed that we’ve lost in the form of Kate, Calvin and Don who would’ve been great coucnillors. There are things out of our control. Nobody faults the amount of work our councillors have put in, in Belsize and Swiss Cottage over the last few years.”

However the night belonged to Cllr Gould’s party, as she won her first full election since becoming leader.

She said: “It’s a fantastic result, a strong Labour result. We’ve won Swiss Cottage for the first time in 20 years; deeply Conservative territory.

“It’s a positive campaign, and it’s a real endorsement for our manifesto and to stand up for public services and against austerity.”

She also praised the candidates who got elected.

“We’ve had some absolutely fantastic candidates, who were out day-in-day-out. Two were EU citizens, and they were standing up for what we believe in.”