Labour defend Gospel Oak with ease at council by-election
Marcus Boyland is elected to Camden Council with 1,468 votes
04 May, 2017 — By Richard Osley
Marcus Boyland, Stephen Crosher and Marx De Morais all campaigning in Kiln Place during the campaign
LABOUR blitzed the opposition in the Gospel Oak by-election – the first council ballot since Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the party.
Marcus Boyland will take his seat in the council chamber for the first time at next week’s mayor-making ceremony.
The result, on Thursday, has heightened confidence among Labour activists who feel that despite bleak national opinion polls and meltdown predictions the party can “get its vote out” across Camden at next month’s general election, even if some believe that voters came out in Gospel Oak in spite of Mr Corbyn’s leadership rather than because of it.
Canvassers said they had been asked on many occasions about the direction of the party nationally under Mr Corbyn and with Brexit negotiations ahead.
Mr Boyland told the New Journal that hard work by local members had led to his emphatic victory.
“We had a strong vote of confidence in our message on council house building, protecting our schools and effective measures on anti-social behaviour,” he said. “We were on the doorstep listening to residents’ concerns about the area and we’ve responded. “We spoke to well over 1,000 people and the result pays testimony to our great team and our hard work.”
Their lead was 881 votes over Stephen Crosher, the Liberal Democrat who finished second, lifting the party from the fifth place posted last time Gospel Oak went to the polls.
Mr Crosher, who is standing against Labour’s Keir Starmer in Holborn and St Pancras at the general election, said: “We continue to fight for an open, tolerant and united Britain.” His party is trying to woo Remain voters worried by Britain’s divorce from the EU. “The Lib Dem argument for a vote on the terms of the deal the government negotiates with the EU is gaining significant support among voters,” he said.
But Tim Barnes, Tory general election candidate in Holborn and St Pancras, said: “Given the incredibly low point the Lib Dems were at, they are due some form of dead-cat bounce here but we’ve actually seen an increase in our share of the vote too.” Conservative sources said resources were switched to broader targets once Theresa May called the general election midway through the by-election campaign.
MARCUS BOYLAND (LAB) 1,468 ELECTED
STEPHEN CROSHER (LIB DEM) 587
MARX DE MORAIS (CON) 523
DEE SEARLE (GREEN) 273
GILES GAME (UKIP) 75