It has been all hands on deck in Islington over the past month, with the sudden call of a by-election after the resignation of Shelley Coupland. She resigned ‘to clear her name’ on allegations of benefit irregularities.
St. Peter’s Ward is the home of Boris Johnson, the famous Camden Passage Antiques market, has street after street of Georgian terraced housing and is bounded by the Grand Union Canal – Just a stone’s throw from the City. There are though large parts of the ward with social housing and deprivation. The ward has been a target for the Federation for a number of years, increasing our share of the vote election after election. In the 2010 elections, we managed to push the current Lib Dem candidate into third place.
Our campaign has been centered on two main issues:
- Firstly, the management of the Council’s housing stock via the Homes for Islington ALMO (Arm-Length Management Organisation). On the doorstep, stories of bodged repairs, poor customer service, and the high costs to both tenants and leaseholders are all too common. Just this weekend an article published in the local press showed that £74mln is spent on management, whilst just £24mln is spent on maintenance and repairs. And there’s been some real horror stories, even in the Leader of the Council’s own ward. Taking just one, there was a story of a 72-year-old carer of her 86 year old husband, who suffers from dementia, having to have bucket baths for 8 months due to the Council’s agencies not being able to install a shower correctly.
- Secondly, is to provide an independent voice to challenge the establishment at Islington Council. With the Lib Dems in decline in Islington, there is no one providing effective opposition in the Council. Many residents, tenants and leaseholders have nowhere to turn to with their issues.
The election has captured the local media’s attention, with good copy on a weekly basis. Last week saw the first hustings on one of the local housing estates. The Lib Dem candidate failed to turn up, and the Labour party substituted their candidate with the Deputy Leader of the Council.
Party activists have been out every evening and all day weekends focused on canvassing, identifying our support base ready for the final push this Thursday. The response on the doorstep has been great and I would like to thank those who have helped in the campaign.
On the day of poll, we’ll be running a full GOTV operation in the ward, hence a call of help to ensure that we can remind all our pledges to come out to vote. If you can spare any time during the day, or even a few hours after work, it would be hugely appreciated.
Contact Richard Bunting at Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org.