Hackney council winner celebrates


With a closely contested general election boosting turnout in the council polls, the leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Hackney Council, Ian Sharer, was enjoying the spotlight.

"It was incredible," he said after his re-election in Cazenove ward, "a tsunami of voters and no one knew who they were. We hadn't canvassed them. We were saying 'who are they coming for?'"

As Labour further increased its control of Hackney, Councillor Sharer and fellow Cazenove Jewish candidate Abraham Jacobson are two of just three Liberal Democrats on the new council. And with the count having been conducted on Friday, Councillor Sharer learned of his election while having his pre-Shabbat bath.

Shimon Tesler failed in his bid to be voted back as an independent in Lordship ward after being deselected by the Tories. But the 467 votes he polled may not have helped the Conservative cause with only Bernard Aussenberg being returned for the party alongside two Labour candidates.

In Barnet, former Bnei Akiva mazkir Danny Seal, 27 (pictured below), comfortably won a seat in Hampstead Garden Suburb. After the declaration, he reflected that when he climbed Kilimanjaro, "they had an important phrase, 'poli, poli,' which means go slowly - and that applies to politics too."

Other Jewish successes included new Barnet mayor Anthony Finn and father-and-son Tories Melvin and Dean Cohen. Melvin Cohen, a councillor for 28 years, said: "I've always had the largest majorities in my ward, apart from this year, when my son overtook me in votes." Dean Cohen said he celebrated his Golders Green victory by rushing home to prepare for Shabbat and then going to shul. Eighteen-year-old student Oliver Segal failed to gain election for Labour in Church End, de-spite having polled close on 1,700 votes, the highest Labour total in the ward. He "greatly enjoyed the campaign, although it was a bit tiring and I did get a bit of abuse from people who don't like Labour. I would be willing to try again in the future."

In Redbridge, former council leader Alan Weinberg said that with the election of Tania Solomon in Barkingside "there are four Jewish councillors on the council, all Conservative, but the council still has no overall control.

"We didn't hear the council results until about 9pm on Friday night. How did I pass the time? I did what every Jewish person does, I ate and drank. It's not like there was a pack of cards."

It was Councillor Solomon's first attempt to win a seat and she is also the first woman to represent her ward. "I have been asked to stand as a councillor before, but didn't want to while the children were growing up. The thought of being the first woman to serve Barkingside spurred me to stand."

She and husband David, a cabbie, have worked for the local Tory party for more than 30 years and Mr Solomon is president of the Ilford North Conservative Association. They are Ilford Federation Synagogue members.

The Labour Party retained power in Haringey, increasing its majority, to the delight of Councillor Joe Goldberg, the local Labour chief whip, who chaired the party's canvassing. "It was a great campaign," he said. "People bought into our agenda and trust us to take the borough forward."

Other successful Labour candidates were Alan Stanton, Zena Brabazon and Sheila Peacock, the latter serving her fifth term for the Northumberland Park ward.

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