Hampstead: Get out of bed call as Labour win with ‘paper candidate'

Adrian Cohen tells CNJ: "I woke up – and saw your tweet."

Friday, 6th May — By Richard Osley

Adrian Cohen

Adrian Cohen


STEPHEN STARK (Local Conservatives) 1089 ELECTED

DEBORAH DOR (Local Conservatives) 887
ANNE WARD (Lib Dems) 609
NICK RUSSELL (Lib Dems) 435

TURNOUT: 43.3 per cent

THE shock of the night came in the Hampstead Town ward where Labour broke new ground – without having to do any campaigning.

In a warning sign for the Conservatives over how residents could be feeling about the Prime Minister’s performance, Labour won with a ‘paper candidate’. Adrian Cohen had even been advised he did not need to come to the count at the Somers Town Sports Centre because his chances of winning were so thin.

But as it became clear that he Tories were in trouble, efforts were made to reach him. Asked how he found out he might actually win, Mr Cohen told the New Journal at 4am today: “I woke up – and saw your tweet.”

Ironically, the other winning candidate in the ward – Stephen Stark, an existing Conservative councillor – did not make an appearance in the counting hall at all.

He joked about how hard he had actually worked to get elected as he was cheered into the room by Labour campaigners.

“How did I do it?,” he said with a smile. “I think it’s the zeitgeist, I think I had the zeitgeist. We were getting a lot of positive feedback on the doorstep. People who vote Conservative are apologetic about it and say things like ‘it’s really good that there is an alternative. They were more open to the idea up in the village than I would have initially expected.”

But even council leader Georgia Gould described the result as “surprising”. Mr Cohen had allowed his name to be used on the ballot paper after an appeal for more candidates to come forward in less attractive wards was put out by the party – after an initial candidate selection process.

The result was a major blow for the Conservatives who are now no longer the largest opposition group and have just three councillors to show for yesterday’s election.


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