Reaction from winners of Islington by-elections
Ed Sheridan, Local democracy reporter
- Credit: Islington Council
Five Labour candidates have been returned in the five by-elections taking place across Islington on the same day as the London mayoral election.
Proud Labour activists were heard to say “Ain’t no party like a Labour party” as one of their candidates was announced the winner.
Turnout was between 40 and 48 per cent across those being called at Alexandra Palace, with the Green Party coming in second in Holloway, Mildmay and Highbury West, while the Conservatives claimed the silver medal in Bunhill and the Liberal Democrats in St Peter’s.
In Holloway, Jason Jackson was returned for Labour with 2,852 votes, on a 44 per cent turnout with exactly 5,000 votes cast.
Following Mr Jackson were the Green Party’s Claire Poyner (792 votes), Conservative Harry Nugent (720), and Liberal Democrat Andrew Charles Hyatt (548).
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He said: “It was a fair campaign. I want to take this moment to be thankful to my grandfather in Africa. He served the missionaries that came to Africa, he had a dream then. And I am here today representing the people of Holloway. It’s a special thing, and it means a lot to my people.
“It’s been a very different kind of campaign with Covid, and I’m so happy with the work that many people have put in.
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“I want to dedicate this to my three wonderful boys. They are the future and I hope you are proud of dad."
In St Peter’s, Labour’s Toby North gained the winning vote with 1,885 people selecting him, on a 44.8 per cent turnout with 4,446 people turning out.
Second was Lib Dems’ Victoria Mei Elizabeth Collins (876), followed by the Conservatives’ Muhammad Kalaam (749), followed by the Greens’ Veronica Pasteur (567), and independent candidate Jody Graber coming last with 318 votes.
Mr North said: “Thank you to all the fellow candidates who have run a very good-natured campaign, and to the voters of St Peter’s who have delivered a fantastic vote of confidence in Islington Labour. I look forward to working very hard as your councillor, working with residents across the board in the coming months.”
Next came Mildmay ward, where Labour’s Angelo Weekes romped home with 2,307 votes on a 44 per cent turnout with 4,156 people voting. Following him in Mildmay was the Greens’ Zoe Alzamora (883), then the Conservatives’ William Woodroofe (603), and finally the Liberal Democrats’ Phil Stevens with 349.
Mr Weekes said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to represent the ward where I was born, schooled and raised, and to join the Labour council to make a difference..."
“My priorities include but are not limited to a cleaner and greener environment, building back post-Covid, housing, community safety, and more civic engagement activities. Again, it is an honour and a privilege and I am blessed to have this opportunity.”
In Highbury West, Labour’s victory came on the back of 2,465 votes for Labour’s Bashir Omar Yassin Ibrahim on a 48 per cent turnout with 5,929 votes cast. Katy Dawson of the Greens came second with 1,799 , followed by the Lib Dems’ Terry Stacy (776), who pipped the Conservatives’ Ben Jackson to the post by just three votes.
Mr Ibrahim said: “What a privilege it is to be selected and elected in my home ward."
“It’s a really inspiring story for me anyway, I was born in Islington and am an unapologetic and proud, young Black working-class Muslim. Our politics is better and richer when we have a diverse set of candidates in local and national government.
“I hope it doesn’t stop with me, and I hope I can inspire more young Black men, more Muslims, more people from working class background to stand for public office, because it is open to every single one of us. I cannot wait to get started and working.”
Finally, Bunhill saw Labour’s Valerie Bossman-Quarshie elected with 1,960 votes, on a 40 per cent turnout with 4,103 votes cast. Second to Bossman-Quarshie came the Conservatives with 744 votes for Zak Vora, followed by 590 votes for the Greens’ Catherine Louise Webb. Liberal Democrat Maxx Turing took 572 votes, while 181 threw their lot in with independent candidate Martyn Perks.
Speaking after her victory, Valerie Bossman-Quarshie said that she had worked “really relentlessly and hard over the years” campaigning on knife crime, food poverty and climate change, adding: “It wasn’t overnight, but I have been trying for so many years.
“I have absolutely heard everything the Bunhill community have said, and I want to be a community champion for all those that voted for me, and those that did not. We are a Labour party for the many, not the few.”