#ELLGE19 Election Preview: Hackney North and Stoke Newington – ‘Diane is never going to get voted out’

Stoke Newington Common Pic- David Martin

Hackney North and Stoke Newington is an area brimming with cyclists, young people and the diversity that makes London the powerhouse that it is today.  However, the area has a dark side; the murky legacy of Clapton’s ‘Murder Mile’, a now gentrified millennial paradise, lingers with more than 200 violent crimes reported in the area in October.

The area is home a wide mix of communities, including the largest population of Charedi Jews in Europe. This is significant because although Diane Abbott, Labour incumbent – who won in 2017 with a majority of more than 35,000 votes – is expected to retain her seat, the anti-Semitism controversy surrounding the leadership of the Labour Party could damage her majority.

Many voters, who chose to remain anonymous, spoke to Eastlondonlines about their reluctance to vote for her citing comments of the Chief Rabbi about how Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is enabling institutional racism.

“I couldn’t vote for Labour because of anti-Semitism,” one voter said. “I live near Stanford Hill, where there is a large, highly marginalised Jewish community. Abbot has made no effort to reach-out to this community, and the local Labour party just passed a motion pretending that anti-semitism doesn’t exist.”

Voices from the street

“There’s not enough information [about the general election]. It’s all wrong information about all the houses they’ve supposed to have built; all the fucked up lies, all of Boris’ lies.”

Martina Treaner, 56, pub owner,

“It’s chaos. They’ve made a mess of Brexit, behave like unruly children, all of them. The country voted to leave. People gave them a mandate and they need to obey.”

Grafton Primus, 70, Retired

“It feels like a bit of a non-event…especially in this constituency. Diane is never ever going to get voted out, and without PR or similar, most of the votes are a waste.”

Matt Evans, 36, solictor 

Employment in the borough crosses a number of industries; 30 per cent of residents are employed in the public sector, 37 per cent work in creative and business industries, and 18 per cent work in the service sector. 

As a developing area, it is a mix of opportunity and poverty. Despite an economic boost from the Olympic Regeneration in East London,the poverty rate is 36 percent, well above the London average of 27 percent. Additionally, 40 per cent of nursery and primary pupils qualify for free school meals. And close to half the population are renters. 

Since the constituency’s creation in 1950, Labour has retained control over the seat, with Diane Abbot holding it since 1987. She is the first black woman ever elected to the House of Commons, and is currently one of the most well-known faces in British politics.  

She has held many shadow ministerial positions; Public Health, Secretary of State for International Development. Before the dissolution of Parliament, she was Shadow Home Secretary. In this role, she was integral to scrutinising the government, particularly regarding the Windrush Scandal, and has vowed to address these ongoing problems if Labour form the next government. 

Despite  Corbyn taking a neutral stance on the proposed EU referendum,  Abbot has announced herself as a Remainer. This position reflects Hackney North and Stoke Newington’s vote in 2016 of 79.52 per cent to remain in the European Union. There was a turnout of 66.2 per cent. 

The opposing candidates: 

The Conservative candidate, Benjamin Obese-Jecty, said that his service in the British Army affected his political opinions. He told Eastlondonlines: “I believe that the biggest issue facing the country currently is the lack of unity, and increasing polarisation of political opinion as tolerance towards opposing viewpoints becomes ever more strained.”  

The suspended Liberal Democrat candidate is Ben Mathis, an ex-London Overground worker. He seeks to address issues concerning transport, housing and air quality. He told Eastlondonlines: “the constituency itself is a fantastic mix of everything you want… and yet we have a lot of challenges.” As nominations were closed when he was suspended from the party, he will still be listed as a Liberal Democrat on the ballot and a Liberal Democrat replacement will not available.

The Green party candidate Alex Armitage, an NHS doctor, told Eastlondonlines: “We need comprehensive changes in our borough, across Britain, and the world in order to make our society fairer, solve the Brexit impasse and avoid the worst effects of the climate breakdown.” 

All 2019 Candidates: Diane Abbot (Labour), Benjamin Obese-Jecty (Conservative), Ben Mathis (Independent/Liberal Democrats), Alex Armitage (Green Party), Richard Ings (Brexit Party), Loré Lixenberg (Independent), Haseeb Er-Rehman (Renew)

Map of Hackney North and Stoke Newington Pic: Open Street Map

Hackney North and Stoke Newington results 2017 General Election:
Result: Labour HOLD (Majority: 35,139, 62.4%)
Turnout: 56,478 (66.2%)

Party Candidate Votes Percentage Swing 
Labour Diane Abbot 42,265 75.1 +12.2 
Conservative Amy Gray 7,126 12.7 -2.1 
Liberal Democrat Joe Richards 3,817 6.8 +1.8 
Green Alastair Binnie-Lubbock 2,606 4.6 -10 
Animal Welfare Party Jonathan Homan 222 0.4 -0.1 
Independent  Abraham Spielman 203 0.4 N/A 
Friend’s Party Coraline Corlis-Khan 59 0.1 N/A 

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