Tevye Markson talks to Becca Thackray who was victorious in Herne Hill as the Green party won five councillors on Lambeth council to become the official opposition to the Labour Party
Becca Thackray received 2,365 votes to top the poll in Lambeth’s Herne Hill ward where she will join Labour’s Jim Dickson (2,335) and Pauline George (2,246).
The Green party won four other Lambeth seats to take its total to five and advance its aim of putting pressure on the council’s large Labour party majority.
“I’m pleased on many fronts,” Cllr Thackray told the Blog.
“We are going to be the main opposition to Labour, acting as cautionary voices and advocates on behalf of our ward members.”
Nick Edwards, who ran in Herne Hill as an independent “Herne Hill Community & Libraries Campaign” candidate, originally stood to be selected as a Green party candidate there, but was not chosen. He received what may have been a very significant 705 votes.
If a number of those votes had gone to Green party candidates Nick Christian (2,060) and Matt Reynolds (2,049), they may have gained a second or even taken all three seats in Herne Hill.
Cllr Thackray said: “It could have been a different result. We’ll never know, but that’s politics.
“The lovely freedom we have in this country is that anybody can stand.”
But the Greens did sweep the board in St. Leonard’s ward in Streatham, which was represented by their sole councillor in the last administration, Scott Ainslie. They now have three councillors there, including Green party co-leader Jonathan Bartley; the first time the Greens have won all three seats in a ward in Lambeth.
“We’re seeing a very slow but steady increase in councillors,” said Cllr Bartley.
“It’s very much the local issues which are enabling us to make the breakthroughs.”
Cllr Thackray pointed to issues such as the Carnegie library and music festivals in Brockwell Park as key to the Greens’ progress in Lambeth. She also stressed the importance of interacting with the community.
“A lot of my job as a councillor will be showing people how to complain at the right time, to the right person, in the right way,” she said.
“Politics can be that simple. When people don’t feel heard, they get angrier.”
Labour made a clean sweep of the first ten wards announced in the count at the Oval cricket ground yesterday before losing their first seat, in Gipsy Hill, to the Greens’ Pete Elliott who had come within a few votes of winning a 2016 by-election in the ward.
It was a bittersweet moment for Labour as they simultaneously claimed a majority of councillors.
The Conservatives, who had three councillors previously, were left with just one, Tim Briggs, despite a recount in his Clapham Common ward that made Lambeth the last London council to make a full declaration of votes cast and councillors elected.
After their third, fourth and fifth seats were announced, the whole Lambeth Green party clan took to the stage to celebrate what they hope will be the start of a green wave.