Islington: Huge win 'gives Labour mandate' to continue green policies

Hillrise candidates celebrate. Labour's Dave Poyser (right) won with the highest individual vote share. 

Hillrise candidates celebrate. Labour's Dave Poyser (right) won with the highest individual vote share. - Credit: William Mata

Labour held overall control of Islington Council but lost all three seats in Highbury after a spirited showing from the Green Party. 

The Greens narrowly picked up all the ward’s seats and are now the sole opposition with Labour holding 48 of the 51 on offer. 

The result will give Labour leader, Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, a mandate to continue with environmental focused policies, including low traffic neighbourhoods. 

Having won a seat in Junction ward, she said in her overall victory speech: “I would like to thank every Islington resident who put their trust in Islington Labour.

“We have won our fourth landslide victory. That has only happened in this borough once before. We will never forget it is a privilege to be your councillors.”

The votes are counted in Islington

The votes are counted in Islington - Credit: William Mata

She continued: “[the election win] has happened because we have put in the work, improved the lives of local people and focused on creating a fairer and more equal Islington for everyone. 

“We have delivered the largest council home programme for a generation. We have protected youth services. We have helped thousands of people into good jobs and helped provide free meals to primary school children. We are tackling the climate emergency. They are all great achievements but we know there is so much more we need to do now.”

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She said building hundreds of “genuinely affordable” council homes, giving laptops to all Year 7 students and getting 5,000 into “good local jobs” as well as repro-fitting 5,000 council homes. 

“It’s a programme to be proud of and one Islington has given us the mandate to deliver,” she added. 

Islington election

Cllr Rowena Champion (right) was one of three to get elected for Labour in Barnsbury alongside Jilani Chowdhury and Praful Nargund. - Credit: William Mata

Labour maintained the number of seats they had before the vote, with Conservative and independent incumbents losing out. In 2018, Labour won 47 of the then 48. 

Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, who was credited by Cllr Comer-Schwartz for his efforts, was also present at the vote. 

Turnout varied between 30.30 per cent, the lowest - at Bunhill ward - and 44.74 per cent at Highbury ward - the highest. Cllr Dave Poyser, who won Hillrise for Labour, took 2,453 votes - the highest overall for any one candidate. 

Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz gives her victory speech

Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz gives her victory speech - Credit: William Mata

Green leader Cllr Caroline Russell won one of three Highbury seats - a result which means Labour cabinet councillor Sue Lukes will not return.

“I cannot tell you how happy I am to say I have colleagues on the council,” said Cllr Russell, who has been a solo voice for the Greens for eight years. 

“We will continue to be a constructive opposition. We will do our very best for the residents of Highbury.”
 

This article was changed at 9.15am on Monday, May 9. Islington Council has 51 seats after the election boundary changes, not 48 - the previous figure.