Labour wins Brondesbury Park in tightly contested by-election
- Credit: Adam Shaw
Labour has held on to the third seat in a tightly contested ward to maintain its 54-councillor majority in Brent.
Gwen Grahl was elected to represent Brondesbury Park after securing 1,871 votes in Thursday’s (May 6) by-election.
She beat her nearest competitor – Conservative candidate Sapna Chadha – by 644 votes.
Green Party candidate Sheila Simpson collected 469 ballots, while the Liberal Democrats’ Philip Alexander received 448.
The by-election follows the resignation of former Labour councillor, Kieron Gill, in March.
Brent Council said 4,083 residents in Brondesbury Park ward cast their votes, marking a turnout of 42.5 per cent.
A total of 68 ballot papers were rejected because they marked too many vote, or they were unmarked or wholly void for uncertainty.
Ms Grahl joins Labour councillors Tony Ethapemi and Erica Gbajumo in serving Brondesbury Park, and it means Labour now have 58 councillors in Brent, with three Conservatives, one Liberal Democrat and one Independent making up the opposition.
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“I’m really honoured to be elected as a councillor in my community and I thank people for putting their trust in me,” she said.
“I’d like to thank all those who campaigned for me – this was a real grassroots effort, and this victory is for them.”
Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, said the margin of victory, compared to that in 2018’s borough-wide local elections, shows his party have been working hard for residents in the area.
He said he was delighted to see Ms Grahl elected and believes she will be “a true voice for the community”.
“Gwen is from the community, lives in Brondesbury and has been working hard to make sure she gets elected,” he said.
“For me to have her as part of the Labour administration is something that I truly value – she will add to the [Labour] group and the community in Brent.
“Even though I may have a large majority, we should never, ever be complacent, and I thank everyone who came out to support Gwen.”
Carolyn Downs, returning officer and chief executive at Brent Council, said:
“Thank you to everyone who voted, and for our incredible Elections Team, polling station staff and count staff who have successfully run four different elections on the same day, during a pandemic when there has been even more work to do.
“I also want to say congratulations to Gwen Grahl – I wish her all the best and look forward to working with her.”