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Deputies take centre stage for close fight

PUBLISHED: 16:20 24 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:59 07 September 2010

THE Boris and Ken show may be hogging the national headlines but in Barnet and Camden it s their deputies who will be vying for the spotlight in the final seven days of election fever.

Katie Davies

THE Boris and Ken show may be hogging the national headlines but in Barnet and Camden it's their deputies who will be vying for the spotlight in the final seven days of election fever.

In the Barnet and Camden constituency Conservative incumbent Brian Coleman, who holds a 11,500 majority, has been pitted against Mr Livingstone's Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron.

On the doorsteps the two are carving out their own battle - focusing on each other not their mayoral masters.

Mr Coleman said: "This is my seat - I live here and grew up here. For two terms I have done a good job representing the people of Barnet and Camden and I want this to continue whoever becomes mayor.

"First and foremost I represent residents - be it Somers Town opposing the tram or Camden Town trying to get proper investment for the tube station."

The unusual political make-up of the two boroughs is keeping both politicians guessing.

Camden had a 35-year history as a Labour council before becoming a Tory-Lib Dem coalition alongside Barnet's solidly Tory town hall.

However, both boroughs have Labour MPs with Glenda Jackson, Frank Dobson, Rudi Vis and Andrew Dismore holding the seats.

"I think the MPs will change at the next election. I don't feel they are reflecting residents' views over issues like the post offices or the 10p tax," Mr Coleman said.

Ms Gavron, whose has worked and lived in neighbouring Haringey, says her local links make her a formidable opponent.

"I think Barnet and Camden are missing out on the benefits Ken and I have been offering because the likes of Brian Coleman have been opposing them," she told the Ham&High.

"He has opposed every positive and progressive policy for London. He opposed free travel for under 18s, 50 per cent affordable housing targets on developers and a London living wage.

"I have a long past in this area - I raised four children in Highgate and worked here as an activist, a councillor in Haringey and then as the Enfield and Haringey Assembly Member. I get things done and want Camden to get the positive things it needs.

"I want to see Safer Neighbourhoods Teams at night to help women and I want to work on environment policies with Camden. I support the things done by Camden in this area and want to work alongside people like councillor Alexis Rowell."

At the last election Mr Coleman had a 11,500 lead on Labour who in turn beat the Lib Dems by around 12,500 votes and the Greens by 24,200.

Miranda Dunn is standing for the Greens and Nicholas Russell is the Lib Dem candidate.

In the new West Central seat, which includes Westminster, Conservative Kit Malthouse takes the baton from Angie Bray, who won last year with a 29,944 majority. The former councillor will run against Labour's Murad Qureshi and Lib Dem Merlene Emerson.

In Enfield and Haringey Tory Matthew Laban will take on Labour's Joanne McCartney who won by just 1,574 votes in 2004.

katie.davies@hamhigh.co.uk

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