Election daily: The runners and riders

27 days to go…


4pm saw the deadline to enter the May 3 local elections pass, and Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dem are all running a full slate of 54 candidates, three in each ward. This is always quite an achievement, even if some are going into the contest virtually accepting that they are running as paper candidates. The Greens are a few short: only one candidate in Fortune Green for example, and none in Regent’s Park. I’ve got you a FULL LISTof the runners and riders. Let me know if there are any mistakes, as I think the official release will be made by Camden Council on Monday.

A couple of quick takes from the list: It’s interesting to see Constantine Buhayer running as one of two independents in the Highgate ward. He is a former Green council election candidate and his presence will surely not be welcome by Sian Berry, who won the only seat for the Greens by just 75 votes. This contested ward is split with Labour. Mr Buhayer stood for the Greens in Gospel Oak in 2014.

Meanwhile, UKIP has retreated into running candidates in just one ward, St Pancras and Somers Town. The Independents for The Movement, highlighted a few posts ago, apparently did not register the name of the group in time and will appear on the ballot paper as simply ‘independent’.

There are independent candidates in Belsize and Regent’s Park wards too. In King’s Cross, there is a Democrats and Veterans Party candidate. That ward has one of only three candidates in the entire field, it appears, who do not live in Camden: Labour’s cabinet councillor Abdul Hai lives in Morden but qualifies due to his work for Camden Town market developers Market Tech.

Angela Pober, the Labour councillor who turned independent, is not down to stand again in West Hampstead.


HOW would a political party do at the council elections if it went into the polls with a pledge to campaign for the legalisation of drugs? Labour cabinet councillors dared not talk about the idea when council leader Georgia Gould and crime chief Nadia Shah – both of whom say they have never taken any illegal substance whatsoever – were pushing a new guilt trip poster campaign aimed at cannabis smokers and party pill poppers last month.¬†And yet the winner of this year’s youth council elections has raced away to victory by calling for legalisation. Fifteen-year-old Athian Akec’s manifesto said it was time to ‘end the war on drugs’ in his suggestions to teen voters.

“Under current drugs policies, people who need help with drug use are thrown into prison, instead of receiving medical help,” the pupil at Hampstead School said. “By making drug use illegal you end up filling prisons with non-violent drug offenders, which costs us a large amount of money. Current drug laws lead to more harm (overdoses) and target mostly ethnic minorities. We should open drug-testing centres, where young people can get their drugs tested.” Athian took 18 percent of the vote, not bad from a field of 14 hopefuls. His deputies are Jessie Wernick and Asma Maloumi.

Below you can hear him call out his policies from the top of Hampstead Theatre building.


AN aside, most phones and computers using autocorrect change Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid’s name to Sajid David. And nobody notices. As such, there are reams of news stories published by reputable newspapers and websites where an important frontbencher is Mr David. And the anonymous ‘Tom Londra’ and me thought the typos on this site were bad!

More relevantly, Mr David will be the Conservatives’ guest of honour early tomorrow as part of what they are calling their local manifesto launch. Hear that Labour? It turns out you don’t need to spend ages worrying about booking a venue after all, just do it outside a supermarket on the Finchley Road. The question is, what will Mr David say about the Chalcots estate. Labour council chiefs believe he made a promise to make council tower blocks safe after the Grenfell tragedy, a pledge which apparently was meant to come with hard cash to put things right. I think his view may be slightly different, that Camden made a mess of the entire refurbishment of the estate, stretching beyond the cladding, and local Labour leaders are the ones with questions to answer – possibly running back to the late 1990s. Let us see what he says.


HERE’S an explosion of emotion. It’s Jonny Bucknell and Leila Roy, the only sitting councillor standing again for the Tories in Belsize ward, loving victory four years ago.


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