Hackney Liberal Democrats Vice Chair Darren Martin has said that the Lib Dems will continue their fight to hold Labour to account in the borough, vowing to hold the newly elected Labour councillors in Cazenove’ “feet to the fire” on their promises made during the campaign.
Following the local election results that leave the Conservatives the only opposition to Labour he added the party will be “reaching out to progressive parties and campaigners” to help residents hold the council to account and campaign on key issues such as Brexit and a fairer voting system.
In a statement to activists and members Darren Martin said:
“The results of the local elections are bittersweet for us.
As we proudly congratulate Liberal Democrat colleagues in London and across the country who have made significant gains, we at the same time are coming to terms with losing our seats in Hackney.
I would like to thank Ian Sharer for his 24 years of service to his community on Hackney Council, a true gentleman who always has time for people no matter what their political persuasion.
His voice will be sorely missed in the Council Chamber, as will those of Javed Isrolia and Isaac Kornbluh who I know would have made excellent Liberal Democrat councillors.
The disappointment of Thursday’s results in Hackney must go along with some positives: Pauline Pearce ran a brilliant mayoral campaign, discussing issues like knife crime and inequality, which led to an increase in vote share and engagement from communities who often do not get involved with politics. We also saw good progress in our target wards of De Beauvoir and Brownswood, doubling our vote share.
The Hackney local party has also never been stronger. Our membership is at a record high and we were able to run an ambitious campaign, putting forward a strong liberal vision for the borough, with real policy solutions for the whole community.
And it is on that strength and that vision that we need to continue to build.
Darren Martin (Left) Pauline Pearce & Caroline Pidgeon (Right)
Labour celebrate not just because they have made gains but because they think they are a step closer to extinguishing all opposition voices in Hackney - but we will not give up.
To the over 1700 people who voted for the Liberal Democrats in Cazenove, we will continue to work for you just as we always have. We will be holding Labour’s feet to the fire on their promises, both those made in public and others made behind closed doors. You have not lost the strong Liberal Democrat voices that have represented you for the past 20 years - we will just have to do it from outside the Town Hall for a while.
Across Hackney we will continue holding the Labour council to account using every mechanism available to us. We must also help and support residents who want to challenge the Council on important issues facing their communities.
Democracy isn't something that only happens every four years, but a constant dialogue between the council and residents.
We will be reaching out to other progressive parties and campaigners in the borough to help support this endeavour.
With two Brexit supporting, naturally illiberal parties in Labour and the Conservatives representing one of the most diverse and liberal places in the country, it is now more important than ever to work together for meaningful change in Hackney.