Camden elections 2022: Tory leader toppled as Lib Dems take Belsize

Oliver Cooper

Oliver Cooper at the Camden elections in Somers Town Sports Centre realising it was "a terrible night" for his party, and for himself - Credit: Nathalie Raffray

A major casualty of the Camden elections was the Conservative group leader, who had switched wards to try to increase the party's council presence.

Oliver Cooper was elected to represent Hampstead Town Ward in 2015, becoming leader of the opposition three years later.

Ahead of the 2022 elections, he chose to move from his "safe" Conservative ward to the Tory-Lib Dem split ward of Belsize.

But the gamble did not pay off and Belsize Tory councillor Steve Adams also lost his seat.

Looking ashen at the count, and shortly before leaving ahead of the declaration, he told the Ham&High: "It looks like a terrible night in Camden.

"I decided as leader I needed to take responsibility and lead from the front. I did that taking great personal risk to myself and never thought that anything would be a sure thing."

He added: "Labour and the Lib Dems wanted to put national priorities ahead of local interests and it seems that might be rewarded in the ballot box.

"But the consequence will be a poorer governance, with Labour not held to account for the consequences of their actions at governing our borough and we'll end up with higher taxes, worse services and high rises all across our communities."

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Belsize had a 38.4% turnout. Oliver Cooper received 1,124 votes and Steve Adams received 1,106. Lib Dems Tom Simon (1,494), Judy Dixey (1,445) and Jonathan Kirk (1,317) were elected.