The Conservative candidate triumphed over Labour in the recent by-election held in Stoke Newington.
Benzion Papier won 1,567 votes in the New River ward by-election on Thursday, giving him a 560-vote majority over Labour’s Jonathan Burke. Papier increased his party’s share of the vote from 38 to 57 per cent, while the Labour vote total dropped from 42 to 37 per cent. The victory was particularly notable because the Conservatives had held the seat by only 39 votes in May’s town hall election.
The by-election was caused by the death of councillor Maureen Middleton in July.
Papier, Middleton’s former running-mate, is a 26-year-old student originally from New York, who has lived in Stamford Hill for five years.
During the election campaign, housing emerged as a major issue. Papier said during his campaign: “I learned a lot from Maureen about fighting for the people of New River. I aim to put in the same energy and commitment as she did to make sure that the residents here are not ignored,” He said he was keen to give a stronger voice to the local community on issues such as housing and public facilities, and cited the Woodberry Down development as one issue where Labour had ‘dragged their heels’. “They are spending money now on blocks that they say will be pulled down in a few years. Residents need to be told honestly what is going on.”
Labour’s Jonathan Burke had said he wanted to deliver “the kind of policies which help to reverse the profound impact of London’s unacceptable and socially corrosive wealth and income divide.”
The Liberal Democrat candidate Ben Mathis stated: “In 2010, 36% of homes in Hackney failed the decency test up from 32% last year. It is time that Hackney Council was able to provide decent homes for its tenants.”
The Labour Party currently controls 50 of 57 seats on the council.
The full results for the by-election were:
Jonathan Burke (Labour) 1,007
Stuart Coggins (Green) 77
Darren Fraser (Independent) 26
Ben Mathis (Lib Dem) 66
Benzion Papier (Conservative) 1,567