Terry Stacy: Former Islington Council leader turned community activist and Lady Gaga’s best mate
- Credit: Archant
Former council leader Terry Stacy is a loud Lib Dem activist, but also does a tonne of community work. The Gazette hears about his fascinating past.
Many councillors fade from view when they are bombed out of office at an election. But not Terry Stacy.
In 2014, after 12 years as a Liberal Democrat councillor – two of which he spent as council leader – Mr Stacy was thrown out of his Highbury East seat.
And yet, as Gazette readers may well have noticed, Mr Stacy is just as visible in the community now as when he was in office.
As a passionate Lib Dem activist, he is, of course, never afraid to have a pop at the Labour administration that runs the town hall.
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But he is also chair of governors at Highbury Quadrant Primary School. He sits on the board of an Islington housing association. He runs the Olden Community Garden in the shadow of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. And as chair of the Albert Kennedy Trust, an LGBT charity for homeless people off City Road, he even hung out with Lady Gaga.
For Mr Stacy, 47, it’s down to his upbringing. “I’ve always been a believer in community service,” he says. “I was born and raised in the East End, and the community was unbelievably good to me.
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“I grew up in care, in a children’s home. I was then fostered in my teens – my foster mother happened to be a Lib Dem councillor – and she really instilled the importance of community work into me.”
Mr Stacy, who moved to Highbury with his partner 19 years ago, left school without any qualifications. But at 19 he became a tenant representative in his East End estate. It opened the door to housing officer roles for which he was given an MBE in 2012.
“Housing is in my blood,” Mr Stacy, who is still a tenant, says. “When I was leader, Islington built its first new council housing in 25 years, and continues to do so today.”
For all his community work, however, Mr Stacy wants to return to politics. In the 2014 elections, three candidates were elected and he finished sixth, though he was only short by 30 votes in a tight poll.
“Islington made its views on the coalition government very clear,” he says. “But I think I’d like to stand for council again, and I am also the Lib Dem candidate for Islington South and Finsbury, so I will have the pleasure of standing against Emily Thornberry at the next general election.”