SUDDEN, sad news from the Lib Dem camp in Camden: Syed Hoque, a councillor in Haverstock ward died from a heart attack last night. I didn’t know Syed well: he didn’t do corridor briefings or phone through with story ideas. People speak warmly of his conviction but I never had the fortune to see it first hand. In terms of his time on the council, he will of course be remembered for his defection last year from the Labour benches. His transfer meant Labour were driven out of the council ward, a revolution in the area which began with Jill Fraser’s then-surprise by-election win in 2004. There was an angry reaction from Syed’s former colleagues, but now is not the time to revive those fiery exchanges. In the coming days, I’m sure Lib Dem and probably Labour councillors who knew him far better than me will tell his story.

There is, however, the practical matter of the upcoming council elections. Syed was seeking re-election in Haverstock with the Lib Dems. The early indications are that the poll in that ward will now be delayed. At such an early stagaes, it’s a bit foggy how this will work and whether voters in that neighbourhood will vote after everybody else. In the event of a tight poll therefore the people of Haverstock could finally decide who runs the borough weeks after the rest of Camden has voted. And there’s a debate to be had there as to whether knowing the results of all the other wards before a consituent votes could influence where they mark their crosses.

As the organisers work out how to proceed, everyone’s thoughts are with Syed’s family.

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