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New councillor Maeve McCormack on landslide Labour victory in Gospel Oak by-election

PUBLISHED: 14:00 21 March 2013

New Gospel Oak councillor Maeve McCormack. Picture: Dieter Perry.

New Gospel Oak councillor Maeve McCormack. Picture: Dieter Perry.

Dieter Perry

Newly-elected Gospel Oak councillor Maeve McCormack says she will be sacrificing every evening and weekend for residents in her new role.

Gospel Oak by-election results:

Maeve McCormack (Labour): 1,272

Leila Roy (Conservative): 419

Constantine Buhayer (Green): 134

Laura Noel (Liberal Democrats): 132

John Reid (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition): 109

Stephen Reid Dorman (British National Party): 57

Turnout: 27.16 per cent

The 26-year-old celebrated a landslide victory in last Thursday’s Gospel Oak by-election, retaining the seat for Labour with 1,272 votes – far ahead of second-placed Tory contender Leila Roy’s 419.

Cllr McCormack, from Broadhurst Gardens, Swiss Cottage, said the win was thought to be Labour’s most convincing in Gospel Oak in modern times.

“It’s a huge privilege to have been elected and I feel really lucky to have been elected in the party’s greatest-ever victory in Gospel Oak,” she said.

“I think Gospel Oak will be getting all my evenings and weekends from here onwards but I will be continuing to work.”

Cllr McCormack graduated with a degree in law and a masters degree in human rights from Nottingham University before moving to Camden in 2008.

She then took up a role with a national charity, specialising in health and social care, which she will continue alongside her new role. The councillor will also continue as a governor at St Dominic’s Primary School, Southampton Road, as part of her election pledge to secure the future of schools in Gospel Oak.

“Camden schools are fantastic and I’ve been really lucky to be part of a governing body where things have been improving really rapidly,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to meeting the local headteachers and getting involved with the other schools.”

The by-election was called last month following the resignation of former Camden environment boss, Sean Birch. His decision opened an opportunity for Cllr McCormack, a long-term Labour supporter, to take her party allegiance a step further.

“I’ve always been interested in politics and I became more involved after 2010 when the coalition government came to power,” she explained.

“I was a teenager when Labour won the general election in 1997 so I didn’t really remember what it was like not to live under a Labour government, so I was shocked into action in 2010. I was really concerned about the damage the Tory-led government was doing and I really felt that just being a Labour member and Labour supporter wasn’t enough.”

Just a week into the role, Cllr McCormack insists she has “hit the ground running”, adding: “I’ve been doing a lot – getting the admin sorted, getting surgeries set up.”

But the fledgling councillor is not getting carried away with the excitement surrounding last week’s by-election.

“My focus is on Gospel Oak,” she added. “I said throughout my election campaign that I wanted to serve the people of Gospel Oak and that’s what I’m focussing on.”

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