Islington council elections: Lib Dems lose all seats in a landslide victory for Labour
19:30 23 May 2014
Labour has retained control of Islington Town Hall in a landslide victory which has seen the Lib Dems completely wiped out on the council.
One seat in Highbury East went to the Green Party’s Caroline Russell, while all other 47 councillor titles were awarded to Labour in what is the best result for the party since 1974.
Lib Dem leader and former Islington Council leader, Terry Stacy, was among the standing councillors to lose a seat.
Heading into the election, there were 36 Labour councillors compared to 11 Lib Dems.
In the last election in 2010, Labour won 39.3 per cent of votes – compared to 58 per cent this time around.
In most cases, the Greens came second to Labour, with the Lib Dems pulling less votes than the Conservatives in a number of wards.
Leader of Islington Council, Richard Watts, said: “These results are better than what we were expecting – the best we’ve had since 1974.
“It’s a ringing endorsement of what we are trying to do and it’s the people fighting back against the Government which has done so much to hurt them over the last few years.
“There’s been a big increase in turnout this election which is another indicator that people in the borough are angry at the moment.
“I want to thank the people of Islington who have given us such a ringing mandate.”
Cllr Watts said a number of former opposition councillors were very popular locally but in the end the electorate chose their candidates based on what was happening in central Government.
“To be fair I don’t think this is an indication of individual Liberal Democrat councillors, but I think this is much more a message about the Coalition.
“These elections are the most powerful weapon the people have – these results will get noticed in the corridors of power.”
Former Liberal Democrat councillor, John Gilbert, who lost his seat in Highbury East, said: “We’re very, very disappointed that my colleagues and I were not re-elected but we wish all the best to the new candidates.”
He added: “You haven’t heard the last from the Lib Dems in Islington and we will continue to be very active in our communities.”
Newly elected Green Party councillor, Caroline Russell, said: “We are delighted to have a Green councillor back on the council.
“Labour has almost 100 per cent of the seats but not 100 per cent of the votes. We came second in most of the wards and are now the official opposition.
“Labour has responsibility to treat the situation with care because we need to have democracy and accountability on the council.”
Katie Dawson, the last Green Party member to hold a seat on the council, said: “We’ve come second across the borough which is amazing but to come second and only get one seat is very disappointing.
“If we had proportional representation I don’t know how many seats we would have won but nobody can argue against us being the number two party in the borough now.
“We don’t have the resources to campaign in every ward but we did really well across the whole borough, which shows the high regard in which the party is held.”
Jeremy Corbyn: “This is an amazing result for Islington and shows the results of effective work in the community the council has done on social housing, free school meals and bringing services back in house.
“It also shows the deep anger at the government.
“The last time we had this many Labour councillors in the north of the borough was in 1982.
“I think we’ve got a lot of new councillors, a much younger more diverse group all round which is a result of Labour’s engagement with communities.
“I went to every single poling station in the north of the borough on my bike yesterday. I started at 6.30am and was in bed by 1am.”