First Labour election winner in Hampstead Town set to step down

Paper candidate will not go on

Wednesday, 25th May — By Richard Osley

Adrian Cohen

Adrian Cohen arrived late to the count after seeing a New Journal tweet that he might have actually won

UPDATED

VOTERS in the split Hampstead Town ward are set to be asked to return to the polls just weeks after the Camden Council elections – with a surprise Labour winner set to step down, the New Journal understands.

Plans are being put in place for a by-election at the start of July with Councillor Adrian Cohen expected to make a formal announcement about his future.

He needed to be roused from his sleep to attend the election count in the early May 6 as it became clear that he was about to make headlines as the first Labour candidate to win in the ward since Camden Council was formed.

Cllr Cohen said: “I would like to thank the residents of Hampstead Town for electing me to be one of their two councillors representing the ward. This historic victory for Labour was truly unexpected. I am grateful to everyone who gave me and my fellow candidate Alexandra Sufit their support and who felt, like us, that the Conservatives both locally and nationally have let us down badly.

“Unfortunately my personal circumstances now mean I cannot take up the seat as a Hampstead Town councillor. I am deeply sorry that I cannot do justice to your support, but Hampstead Town deserves a Labour representative who can work every single day for our community. I can’t do that and it would be wrong for me to serve as your councillor when I know I cannot give you the attention and dedication the job needs – consistent with my values and the values of Camden Labour.”

He added: “Going forward I will be supporting a Labour candidate who can be the dedicated local champion that Hampstead needs. I sincerely hope that Hampstead Town will once again elect a fantastic Labour councillor.”

The by-election will now test whether Labour can win again in the ward after a round of elections at which Boris Johnson’s performance as Prime Minister was blamed for big Tory losses. The Conservatives now have only three councillors and the loss of a seat in Hampstead was critical to losing the role of official opposition, as the Liberal Democrats returned one more.

New candidates are expected to be quickly installed by the parties with those who had been aware of Cllr Cohen’s likely resignation already leafleting the area again over the weekend. A Labour leaflet thanked voters for their support but did not mention Cllr Cohen’s name at all.

The Tories were also back putting their material through doors ahead of what promises to be one of the closer to call by-elections in Camden in recent years. Thursday July 7 is the likely date for the poll.

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