Labour retain Hackney mayorship despite scandal and reduced majority

Hackney’s new mayor has been announced, with the Labour Party reigning victorious in Thursday’s by-election despite a significantly reduced majority from 59% to 49.5%.

Caroline Woodley will assume office on Monday, after receiving 18,474 votes from a total of 37,289,

on a turnout of just 20.69%.

Labour’s Phillip Glanville resigned in September, triggering a by-election, after it emerged he socialised with a disgraced former councillor despite knowledge of their arrest.

Woodley said: “To have the opportunity to serve this special borough as Mayor is the greatest honour of my life.

“Labour in Hackney have a record to be proud of, and I will build on that legacy with 1000 new council homes; a green new deal to tackle the climate emergency and to support local jobs; and safer, healthier streets for all.

“But after thirteen years of the Tories, the choices we make at council level are becoming harder.

“Only Labour, with mission-driven government, will bring about the change the country so urgently needs.

“I’m so proud to be the first woman to serve as Mayor of Hackney and I will lead our borough in that spirit of progress: anti-racist, inclusive, welcoming, kind and open.

“A place where you can be who you are; a place for us all.”

Woodley, councillor for Cazenove and Cabinet Member for Families, Parks and Leisure, will serve as mayor until 2026.

The Greens came second with 24% up from 17% in 2022, only losing 1,298 votes despite turnout falling by 23,718.

In comparison, Labour lost 17,575 votes, likely due in part to the scandal of Glanville’s resignation and his association with the now convicted paedophile Tom Dewey.

However, the massively reduced turnout also suggests a lack of enthusiasm for the position of directly-elected mayor.

Several candidates opposed the position in the race including the Greens’ Zoë Garbett.

Dalston councillor Garbett said: “A heartfelt thanks to everyone who had to find time to vote in this by-election.

“I am deeply grateful to everyone who put their trust in us and want a greener, fairer Hackney. 

“Only 1 in 5 voters cast a vote though, and the fact that most London boroughs function without this role shows that it isn’t needed.

“We still think that the money the role costs should be returned to the council to distribute, along with the power held by the mayor. 

“But this by-election has also shown that the appetite for Green representation is growing in Hackney, and Labour should welcome the scrutiny that democratic opposition provides.

“It is up to them now to do the hard work of rebuilding the trust that they’ve lost.

“As the leader of the Green group I will continue to respect people as experts in their own lives, and work with communities to change the relationship between residents and the council.”

Thursday’s vote was the first in Hackney requiring photo identification following a government rule change first enforced this May.

Polling station staff said voters had frequently turned up without this throughout the day.

Conservative Simche Steinberger came third with 5,039 votes, 13.6% of the vote.

Liberal Democrat Simon De Deney received 1,879 at 5.1%.

Independent anti-low traffic neighbourhood candidate Peter Smorthit took 1,382, 3.7%.

TUSC’s Annoesjka Valent made up the ballot with 1,265, 3.4%.

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