Liberal Democrat Anton Georgiou sweeps to victory in Alperton by-election as Labour hangs on to seats in Barnhill and Wembley Central
PUBLISHED: 15:28 24 January 2020
Alperton residents have voted for change by installing a Liberal Democrat back in to Brent's council chamber after the party's four-year absence.
Anton Georgiou swept to victory in Thursday's by-election with 1,699 votes saying he's "flabbergasted" by the result.
Chetan Harpale, who has been suspended from the Labour Party came second with 1,304, and the Conservatives third with 373.
The seat was made vacant by the resignation and suspension from the Labour Party of James Allie.
It is the first time a Liberal Democrat has sat in the Labour-strong chamber since Helen Carr became an Independant in 2016.
Mr Georgiou said he was "grateful" to residents for "placing their trust in me" adding: "I'm absolutely so grateful and stunned by this victory.
"It's a great honour that I have been able to elected as the Libdem councillor for Alperton, it's crazy.
"I think people are genuinley so tired of way things are and wanted to see something different."
He was congratulated by the Liberal Democrat Mayor of London candidate Siobhan Benita who said: "What a stunning result for Anton in Alperton.
Such a massive swing to the LibDems and away from Labour shows that voters want change.
"It's a real boost to my campaign to be London's first LibDem mayor and for my vision of a safer, greener, kinder capital. "I'll end knife crime and rough sleeping, reopen police stations and boost community policing, make London plastic-free and end the commuting nightmare."
Anton, who lives in Dudden Hill, has long campaigned in the borough.
His record includes standing as a council candidate in Dudden Hill in 2014.
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A bright light in his party he was selected as the GLA candidate for the Brent and Harrow constituency during the 2016 mayoral elections and again for the elections in May. "To be honest I haven't thought about it, I don't think I can do everything. I won the selection for the GLA in the summer of last year before Alperton ever came up."
He helped set up Brent Refugee Action Group for those fleeing violence in Syria and other war-torn countries, explaining at the time how his own family arrived in the UK after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.
He added: "I'm flabbergasted by it all. I worked so hard for so long. We have a Lib Dem back in Brent. I never expected it to be me but it is and I'll do as much as I can to make sure there's a strong Liberal voice in the chamber.
"I'll hold them to account but also work with other parties, Labour and Conservative where possible."
His priorities he said, are: "The neglect of the area, the rubbish, the flytipping, the general poor state of the area is something that was referred back to again and again.
"They live in a really dirty, messy area and it's time we found a way of tackling the flytipping and rubbish and cleaned it up.
"My tagline during the campaign was 'a vote for Anton and the Liberal Democrats is a vote for Alperton' and I'll keep that up."
The other by-election wards, which included two vacancies in Barnhill and one in Wembley Central, were all won by Labour candidates.
Mansoor Akram, the brother-in-law of Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt, received 1,194 votes while Gaynor Lloyd, wife of Northwick Park's Cllr Keith Perrin won 1,152.
They were closely followed by Conservatives Kanta Mistry with 1,082 votes and Stefan Voloseniuc with 1,018.
Sonia Shah won Wembley Central with 1,945 votes with the Conservative Sai Karthik Madabhushi in second place with 1,090.
Alperton had the greatest turnout with 33.99 pc, followed by Wembley Central with 27.57pc and Barnhill's 21.97pc.
Carolyn Downs, chief executive of the council and returning officer, said: "Thank you to everyone who came out to vote despite the cold weather.
"I would also like to thank all our polling station and count staff who have now run two back-to-back elections successfully.
"Congratulations to the councillors who have been newly elected - I look forward to working with them."