Nikki Uppal: Islington's first ever Women's Equality Party candidate
PUBLISHED: 16:02 28 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:18 28 February 2018
Islington's Labour machine has another challenger. Nikki Uppal, the Women's Equality Party's sole candidate in May's local elections, tells the Gazette that the borough needs more 'political diversity'.
Nikki Uppal is the first ever Women’s Equality Party candidate to stand for election in Islington.
In May’s local elections, Ms Uppal is going for Hillrise ward in the Archway/Hornsey Rise end of the borough.
Like everywhere else in Islington, Hillrise is Labour-dominated. But the Women’s Equality Party is not fielding a candidate in any other ward, meaning the few hundred local members will pour their resources into winning one of the three Hillrise seats.
She said this week: “Labour has 47 of 48 council seats. I really think Islington needs more political diversity. It’s not great for democracy when there’s only one opposition member.”
Ms Uppal lives in Holloway, so why Hillrise? “I have a strong connection with the area,” she says, “I’ve been a school governor at Whitehall Park Primary for three years. I have regular involvement with parents and, through that, regular involvement with the community.”
Last week, she was one of the worried neighbours who had a “cuppa with a coppa” (sic) about Archway’s recent spike in violent muggings.
“I’ve been talking a fair bit to local residents and the key issue in Hillrise, time and time again, is crime,” she said. “There’s a heightened fear among people at the moment. Muggings feel like they are getting more violent. Then there’s moped robberies and burglaries.
“We have a very strong community, trying to get together. I see people setting up Neighbourhood Watch groups. But at the end of the day, we are suffering from a shortage of police presence.”
That, and housing, will be two of the issues Ms Uppal will try and address if elected in May. Can it really happen? “Islington is a progressive borough,” she says, “and an area where we have a high number of supporters. We’re only getting stronger.
“I think the Women’s Equality Party is becoming an electoral force. We are approaching our third birthday and already have 65,000 members and supporters. A lot of things have happened in the past 12 month that have made us even more relevant.
“This is the only party with comprehensive policies on achieving gender equality. We don’t think the other parties have practical policies that achieve that. But we are open to collaborating on these issues.”