Hackney: Conservative triumphs after turbulent Cazenove by-election contest

Hackney: Conservative triumphs after turbulent Cazenove by-election contest

A veteran local politician who has previously been both a Labour and a Liberal Democrat councillor in his home borough has won a clear victory for the Conservatives in Hackney’s Cazenove ward at Labour’s expense.

Ian Sharer, who represented Cazenove as a Lib Dem from 2002 until Labour gained all three seats in 2018, received 1,623 votes, leaving Labour’s Laura Pascal in a distant second place with 935 after a campaign in which both hyper-local and international issues played a part.

The Conservative appears to have thrived on a combination of a strong personal vote, perhaps especially among fellow Jewish Londoners who make-up almost a quarter of the ward’s population, and his opposition to Labour-run Hackney Council’s enthusiastic installation of Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes, which have been strongly opposed by Jewish residents. Turnout was high for a by-election at 31.9 per cent.

It is the first time a Tory has won a seat in Cazenove. Hackney Conservatives have welcomed “this historic victory”, adding that they are “honoured to be representing all our communities and will continue to oppose the rollout of LTNs”. Sharer had previously won in the predecessor Northwold ward for Labour in 1994 and for the Lib Dems in 1998.

Green candidate Tamara Micner finished third with 387 votes and the Lib Dem vote collapsed, with candidate Dave Raval getting just 75. Lib Dems, with Sharer as a candidate, had run Labour close in the ward in the last two full council elections.

Other recent by-elections had indicated that Labour would have a fight on its hands, with its vote share in November’s Hackney mayoral by-election – which created the need for the Cazenove by-election – falling against the backdrop of the previous Mayor’s resignation and signs elsewhere in east London and beyond that Muslim voters, who make up around 15 per cent of Cazenove’s population, are unhappy with the national Labour leadership’s stance on the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The party’s campaign was then rocked by the “administrative suspension” of Pascal by Labour’s London region at the end of last week in response to a complaint by a fellow party member about some of her social media output, in which she had expressed her strong views about biological sex and gender identity issues.

This included her endorsing an X/Twitter post in which a comparison was made between a white person in “blackface” and a man adopting a female appearance. The post itself was converted into a poster by opponents of Pascal and fly-posted around the ward.

On Wednesday, Labour issued an apology by Pascal for her social media activity and her suspension was lifted, but a Labour source close to the campaign said today that the candidate had “embroiled herself in a racism scandal”, which had “deeply offended” people in Hackney and made winning “totally impossible”.

Responding to this, a local campaigner for Pascal rejected the “racism scandal” charge and said the Labour candidate’s “support for her party’s policy shift on sex and gender” was not “a primary issue on the doorstep”.

The campaigner attributed the Tory win to “LTNs, concerns about Gaza and an efficiently organised postal vote by the local Conservative party”, adding that Labour voters sympathetic to “transgender ideology” would be unlikely to switch to the Tories.

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Categories: News


  1. S. Pepper says:

    When was Ian Sharer a Labour Cllr? And was that also in the Cazenove area?

    I haven’t found any information on this but old election results are spotty

  2. Robert says:

    From the outset of the LTN imposition it was clear to anyone with any sense of political strategy that Low Traffic Neighbourhoods were a Conservative elephant trap surrounded by floodlights for Labour.

    That is why they are so controversial in places like Hackney. Why local representatives have been silent on the policy is odd.

    That the various, largely inner city, Labour Citadels representatives’ fell into them is a reflection on the political class defined by hubris and performative politics. Perhaps, at the time (2019) worried about greens encroaching into safe seats.

    What was the result of employing the tactics defined by Conservative local politics strategy for the Labour party? A Conservative gain. In Hackney!

    The outcome of this front of the culture wars is the hyper parochial conflict it has formented in London as a whole, perhaps by design.

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