Conservatives select Alex Andrews for Hampstead Town by-election

Tories urge voters to choose a 'local champion'

Wednesday, 1st June — By Richard Osley


Alex Andrews, second from left, with dog – joins Tory campaigners in Hampstead

THE Tories last night (Tuesday) selected Alex Andrews to stand in the Hampstead Town by-election – the new ballot called after Labour’s ‘paper’ candidate quit the council less than a month after winning his seat.

Ms Andrews had been one of the runners-up in the Primrose Hill ward but now gets a second chance as the Conservatives aim to start their recovery from bruising boroughwide elections last month.

Due to a redrawn political map, Hampstead Town now only has two council seats: one is held by the party with long-serving councillor Stephen Stark and the other now left vacant by Labour after Adrian Cohen’s almost immediate resignation.

Mr Cohen had been a surprise winner for Labour – the party had never won in the ward before – and he famously needed to be roused from his sleep to get to the counting hall in the early hours after speculation rose around his possible victory. He has since told residents that he has not the time to give the role the full commitment needed.

“I made Hampstead my home four decades ago, because of what makes it so special,” said Ms Andrews.

“I’ve lived across Hampstead, from Pond Street to Whitestone Pond, my children were born at the Royal Free, and I’ve led campaigns across NW3 for green spaces and against inappropriate development. I will ensure Hampstead remains a unique and special place.

“I want to be another local champion like Stephen Stark, to fight for residents and against Camden imposing its one-size-fits-all approach on Hampstead. I will work with Stephen to fight passionately to preserve Hampstead’s character, deliver cleaner and safer streets, and give residents a voice.”

After losing seats at the council elections, senior local Conservatives blamed Boris Johnson’s performance as a key reason for disappointing results which saw the party drop to just three seats. Labour, which won 47 of the 55 seats in Camden, has already started distributing leaflets again with Mr Johnson’s face in Hampstead Town ahead of the new poll.

Ms Andrews said: “I heard time and again the message that the government needed to change, and that message was heard loud and clear in May. Now, Hampstead uniquely has a chance to elect another local champion to work with Stephen Stark, separate from national politics.

“Stephen and I will make a seamless, energetic team entirely focused on the job of championing Hampstead and holding the Labour-run council to account.”

The Lib Dems selected former councillor Linda Chung for the contest. A Labour candidate is due to be decided next week.


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