Saturday May 8, 2010
By RICHARD OSLEY
LABOUR is back in charge of Camden Council after only four years in opposition. The party stormed back to power by claiming 30 seats at Thursday's Town Hall elections, enough to give it the majority of councillors.
The dramatic scenes at the count at Haverstock School were almost exact reversal to what was seen in 2006, the last time the borough went to the polls and when Labour lost a raft of seats and control of the council for the first time in nearly four decades.
While the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives celebrated that night four years, neither party were themselves able to form a majority and agreed to rule by coalition. The taste of power in Camden will now feel brief as Labour won back the seats it lost in Gospel Oak, Cantelowes and Kilburn, as well as making gains in Camden Town with Primrose Hill, Bloomsbury and Highgate.
Overnight, the Lib Dem seat count was cut to just ten seats. The Tories also only collected ten seats, confounding the disappointment of missing out on the Hampstead and Kilburn parliamentary seat by 42 votes.
The Greens too will be deflated by their performance, losing two of its three seats in Highgate ward.
While the national picture looked uncertain and no party could find a majority in the House of Commons, Labour locally had reason for celebrations. Councillor Julian Fulbrook often described the council as being under the 'temporary stewardship' of the Lib Dems and Tories - and his words proved correct.
Former Labour councillors Peter Brayshaw, Abdul Quadir and Dave Horan return in the new line-up. Mike Katz, an unsuccessful candidate in the past, was rewarded for his loyalty with a council seat in Kilburn, while new recruits Meric Apak, Angela Mason and Larraine Revah are already well known in Camden for their community work. Georgia Gould, daughter of Lord Gould, was elected in Kentish Town and Awale Olad in Holborn and Covent Garden became Camden's first Somali councillor.