Voters go to the polls as election held following death of former mayor
PUBLISHED: 10:01 21 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:23 27 June 2018
Today sees Willesden Green voters finally make it to the polls, after the ward’s election was postponed in May after the death of former Brent Mayor Cllr Lesley Jones.
When the rest of the local elections went ahead, Labour won their biggest majority in Brent Council’s history.
And as it currently stands, there are only three opposition councillors, all Tories representing Kenton ward.
All three of the parties challenging Labour - who held all three Willesden Green seats before the election - in the ward are hoping to convince voters that they can provide effective opposition to Brent Council’s controlling Labour group, led by Cllr Muhammed Butt. After an understandably muted campaign, Green Party candidate Shaka Lish said her party were hopeful of a surprise success in the ward.
She told the Times: “We are targeting it because we think it’s a winnable ward. We really want to get across that we’re running to oppose many of the decisions made by this Labour council.”
Alison Hopkins, who is the local Liberal Democrat chair and a former councillor, said: “We’ve got three very good local candidates and we’ve already seen what the Labour council have done without opposition.”
She also paid tribute to Cllr Jones, saying: “She was a proper old-fashioned councillor who worked very hard for Willesden Green.”
George Currie, chair of Brent Central Conservative Party told the Times: “Clearly May’s results show it’s a challenging time for the party in Brent, but we want to be able to hold Labour to account here. For us it’s an election about democracy.”
However, Labour are favourites to retain all three seats after their success last month.
Labour candidate Tom Miller added: “Losing Lesley so suddenly came as a massive blow. She was a fantastic councillor, a true advocate, and a great teacher, in every sense of the word. We’re working hard to help keep this ward Labour, and hope to win the right to carry on Lesley’s good work building a cleaner, greener, and fairer borough.”
Cllr Jones who lived in Dollis Hill, was made Mayor of Brent in March 2015. During her year in office she raised £9,000 for Brent Young Carers. She represented Labour as a councillor for Willesden Green for 20 years before she died on April 30 this year.