Labour wins increased majority on Haringey Council

Gains for Labour in west of Haringey on positive night for party in London
By Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Haringey Labour celebrate their impressive results
Haringey Labour celebrate their impressive results

Haringey Labour has recorded its strongest set of local election results for more than two decades as it gained ground in the west of the borough.

The Labour group won 50 seats during council elections held on Thursday, giving it a majority of 43 – the largest lead the party has achieved since 1998.

It was one of a series of strong showings for Labour in the capital that saw Barnet, Westminster and Wandsworth councils come under the control of the country’s main opposition party.

Haringey Council has been controlled by Labour since its creation in 1964, with the exception of a brief period of Tory rule between 1968 and 1971.

In 2018, the local group lost seats to the Liberal Democrats amid a voter backlash over the leadership’s handling of antisemitism within the party. But it regained lost territory from the Lib Dems in elections that were dominated by the cost of living crisis and the ‘partygate’ scandal.

Key gains for Labour included two seats in Crouch End, where opposition leader Luke Cawley-Harrison was the only Lib Dem to be elected. Labour also won two seats in Fortis Green and a seat in Muswell Hill.

Speaking after the final results were declared, leader Peray Ahmet promised Labour would not let residents down and would be “collaborative, competent and radical”. She said: “Despite the huge strain on our finances, we are ambitious about what local government can do.”

The Labour leader pledged to address the climate emergency, make 50% of new homes truly affordable, protect private renters, keep libraries open, improve leisure centres and support local businesses.

Cllr Ahmet added: “We will welcome and support our communities as we always have done, including migrants and refugees, and celebrate our diversity. The Haringey deal means all of this. Everything we do will be done with, and not to, residents.”

The Liberal Democrats won council seats across the country on Thursday, but the local group was unable to replicate the national successes. In some wards, the Lib Dems came fourth behind the Conservative and Green candidates.

Leader Luke Cawley-Harrison said residents had wanted to support both the Lib Dems and Labour to make a point “that they do not want this Conservative government”, and second and third votes had tended to go Labour’s way.

“We got a fantastic reception on the doorstep,” he added. “People in Haringey know that if they get Lib Dem councillors, they will work hard for them and represent them. I don’t feel that this was an anti-Lib Dem thing, and that is what we heard time and again.

“We will continue working hard for the next four years. We are still the only opposition here, and we have a really good team of experienced councillors.”

Conservative candidate James Barton was in an upbeat mood despite the Tories’ failure to win seats. The last time the Conservatives held a seat in Haringey was in 2009.

James said: “I feel very positive. I have been very honoured to meet some residents. Some of them have never seen a Conservative before, so it’s been great. One road I went to, they have never been canvassed – never seen a candidate, and they voted for me just for that. It’s things like that that make it all worthwhile.

“I actually think that because Labour has been in power here for 51 years, it’s much more about Labour’s failings and the general stagnation of the whole borough. We’ve not heard anything about partygate at doorsteps.”

Green candidate Emma Chan, who came third in St Ann’s ward with 938 votes, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that we came this close. This is the closest we’ve ever been. This shows that we’re still going to be here, today, tomorrow and next week. This shows that people are ready for change and are taking climate change seriously.”

Overall turnout in Haringey was 34.44% – the worst since 2002. The wards with the lowest turnout tended to be traditional Labour strongholds in the east of the borough. Bruce Castle saw the lowest turnout, at just 25.43%. The figures were better in the west of the borough, with Alexandra Park recording the highest turnout of 50.69%.

This article has been amended to include the correct turnout figure in the final paragraph, after Haringey Council originally supplied incorrect turnout data

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