'Daunted' Lib Dems hold Highgate in Haringey Council election
PUBLISHED: 08:37 23 May 2014 | UPDATED: 14:38 23 May 2014
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Highgate has become the only ward in Haringey where the Liberal Democrats have control after the party lost 60 per cent of its seats to Labour at the Haringey Council election.
The Lib Dems clung onto all three Highgate seats, but in the party’s former strongholds of Crouch End, Muswell Hill, Alexandra, and Fortis Green, Labour wrested seats in a series of shock results early this morning.
Labour, which has ruled Haringey Council for 43 years, tightened its control of the local authority, gaining 14 seats.
Highgate’s Lib Dem councillor-elect Clive Carter, 58, said: “It will be a daunting prospect to be in the council that has such a different complexion now.
“But I suppose the first priority is to represent Highgate.”
The Lib Dems have traditionally held a comfortable margin over their opponents since they seized control of the ward 12 years ago but this year the battle for Highgate’s three seats came down to just a few hundred votes.
Labour has never had a councillor elected in the ward but there were only 97 votes between Mr Carter and Labour’s Janet Boston.
The decision taken by two longstanding Lib Dem councillors – Rachel Allison and Neil Williams – to step down at this election may have left the party vulnerable.
“Times are tough and we could not take anything for granted,” said 46-year-old Lib Dem councillor-elect Liz Morris.
“We were absolutely right to work extremely hard to win the ward again.”
Cllr Bob Hare, who has served Highgate for 12 years, was re-elected alongside Ms Morris and Mr Carter.
The Conservatives, who controlled Highgate for 12 years before they were ousted in 2002, came in third place behind Labour.
They gained a total of 2,603 votes to Labour’s 2,803, while the Lib Dems took victory with 3,740 votes.
Elsewhere in the borough, the Lib Dems lost 12 seats to Labour in what was described as a “whitewash” by several Labour candidates – giving the ruling party an overall majority of 48 seats to the Lib Dems’ nine.
Elated Labour leader Cllr Claire Kober took to the stage after the final result was confirmed at about 6.30am this morning.
“There is painting the town red and then there is painting the town red!” she said, to loud cheers.
“I think looking at this evening’s results we can say with some conviction that the love affair with the Lib Dems in Haringey is well and truly over.”
She continued: “Pavement politics I can deal with, but the politics of smears and the politics of the gutter has no place in Haringey... The people of Hornsey and Wood Green have firmly put Lynne Featherstone on notice.”
To read more coverage of Haringey’s local elections, click here.