Tottenham: Election 2010

April 29, 2010
In touch: David Lammy knows just who to speak to in Tottenham as he looks to defend his 13,034 majority

In touch: David Lammy knows just who to speak to in Tottenham as he looks to defend his 13,034 majority

It will be something of a political earthquake if Labour's David Lammy is unseated in Tottenham.

He holds a majority of 13,034 and his nearest rivals are the Liberal Democrats, who at the last election pushed the Tories into third.

Despite the slim chance of an upset, both Labour and the Tories are going out of their way to court the Charedi community in south Tottenham.

Mr Lammy has been pictured in the Orthodox paper Hamodia enjoying Chanukah and the local paper has carried pictures of him on a walkabout with Charedi leaders.

One of the Minister for Higher Education's main supporters is Councillor Joe Goldberg, chief whip of the ruling Labour group on Haringey Council, who believes Jewish support for Mr Lammy will be increased by the council's approval of guidelines for home extensions in Orthodox households. He said: "This sort of project shows we care for the problems of the kehilla [community]. We recognise them, as part of the heart and soul of the community."

Perceptions that Labour are courting Charedi voters has angered Tory Sean Sullivan. But he acknowledges that he too is targeting Jews.

"We understand the issues. Education and extensions to homes are of concern. We support the Shomrim and are backing plans for such facilities as single-sex swimming in local pools."

The aim, says Mr Sullivan, is to ensure differences between the people of Tottenham are appreciated and he criticised Mr Lammy as being "too concerned with furthering his career".

And he appeared to fire a broadside at his Tory leader David Cameron, saying: "I'm not an Old Etonian posh boy. When I talk about estates I'm talking about council, not country estates."

Lib-Dem's David Schmitz, whose parents fled the Nazis, appears to be in a buoyant mood as he works to improve his party's showing of 5,309 votes.

"What people would get from me is something new. I feel David Lammy has taken this constituency for granted. The job of an MP is to represent his constituency and not to be a sales rep for the government."

American-born Mr Schmitz, a barrister, specialises in property cases and has defended many homeowners. He has also given free advice to local community bodies and advised members of the Alexandra Palace Board who were opposed to the sale of the building to a private developer.

If elected, he says he will help provide "fair funding" for Haringey schools whose pupils, he claims, receive £1,000 less per head for education than those in nearby boroughs.

Other candidates are Anne Gray (Green Party), Abimbola Kadara (Christian Party), Winston McKenzie (UKIP), Jenny Sutton (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) and Neville Watson (Indpendent).

Last updated: 2:18pm, April 29 2010