Brixton’s Coldharbour ward gearing up for by-election

Residents of Lambeth’s Coldharbour Ward in central Brixton will be heading to the polls again on 13 September, following the death of Labour Party councillor Matthew Parr


A table of votes in the Coldharbour Ward that appears in the September issue of the Brixton Bugle contains some errors. Green candidate Michael Groce got 761 and not 664 votes and Liberal Democrat candidates received fewer votes than stated in the Bugle‘s table. A correct version of it is below



Name of CandidateDescription (if any)Vote
NYE Emma LouiseLabour and Co-operative Party2325
ANYANWU DonatusLabour and Co-operative Party2257
PARR Matthew MartynLabour and Co-operative Party1976
GROCE MichaelGreen Party761
NIX RashidGreen Party683
HEYWOOD Rachel Mary ThereseIndependent660
JOHNSON Michael JamesConservative Party Candidate228
HENNESSY Amy GraceConservative Party Candidate217
STEWART WILLIAMS Yvonne PatriciaConservative Party Candidate189
BERTIN OlivierLiberal Democrats182
McMORROW Henry FrancisLiberal Democrats180
LEWIS Clive DavidLiberal Democrats173


The Labour Party will be aiming to maintain its dominance of the council and their main competition will be from the Green Party.

Labour will be hoping to replace Cllr Parr with Scarlett O’Hara, a former NHS worker who has lived locally for over 30 years and is a “proud trade unionist” who supports the Ritzy workers’ living wage campaign.

The 2018 local council elections saw Labour retain 90 per cent of the council seats, albeit at a slightly reduced majority.

According to O’Hara, she has been actively working with local councillors and speaking with residents in Angell Town, Loughborough Junction and on the Moorlands Estate “for a long time” and puts affordable housing and keeping children’s centres open as priorities.

“I’ve developed a good understanding of the issues in the ward I’d need to deal with as a councillor,” she said.


Labour candidate Scarlett O’Hara (centre) canvassing in Brixton with local MP Helen Hayes and Brixton Soup Kitchen founder Solomon Smith

The Green Party, which at the last local election cemented its status as Lambeth council’s official opposition by winning five seats, has put forward Michael Groce as their candidate.

Groce, who has lived in the area for much of his life, is a poet and well known community activist, working as special projects manager at the Green Man Skills Zone on Coldharbour Lane. His mother, Cherry Groce, was mistakenly shot by police in 1985, sparking the Brixton riot of that year.

According to Groce, the dominance of Labour in the council has resulted in it becoming “complacent”, not listening to the residents about “the issues that really matter”.

He said the Green Party would speak for local people and hold the council to account over spending, housing, youth services, pollution and parks and open spaces.

Green Party candidate Michael Groce at the Windrush Square protest against the government’s ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy

The Liberal Democrats have put forward Doug Buist, previously part of the party’s team in Thurlow Park in 2018. He works for an arts and education charity in South London and is a trustee of a children’s centre.

He said he is “passionate about campaigning for a community that is fair for all and where everyone can access the support they need from their council”.

The Conservatives, who went from three seats to just one, at the last borough-wide election, have put forward Yvonne Stewart-Williams, whose ambition is to be the first Black openly lesbian Conservative MP.

The Women’s Equality Party candidate will be Sian Fogden, who holds a PhD in nanotechnology.

UKIP is also hoping their candidate Robert Stephenson, an IT professional in the City of London, might get a vote or two. In a previous local election campaign he told voters he was particularly concerned about “the absence of controlled immigration” to the UK.