I only got down to Hampstead Town once in the campaign due to a very high workload this month, but I could see things were positive. Hampstead Town is sort of like the Camden equivalent of Totteridge or the Garden Suburb. Though it was once a Lib Dem stronghold, the Tories have made big progress in the ward lately. In the by election tonight, Labour doubled it's vote from the previous by election (which had a higher turnout) in 2008. A stunning result.
And it shows that Camden Labour are doing well, they are an incumbent administration having to implement the Government's horrific cuts to local Government, but are doing it in a fairer way. Unlike our Tory Council they are doing what they can to protect frontline services. It's silly not to pretend that local Councils don't have to make big savings- they are legally required to, but it's where the axe falls that is a mark of your priorities. In this, Camden are streets ahead of children centre cutting Barnet.
And it was good to see so many local activists on the street. The Camden Labour Party is very dynamic, and they do a lot of work. I am glad to see they are doing so well, and it shows that the resurgence of Labour in North London is very real. Brunswick Park was no fluke. I find that time and time again many voters tell me that they voted Tory in 2010, and thoroughly regret it. Excellent Labour Councils like Camden show that we are capable of government again.
And there are plenty of questions the Tories should ask themselves, such as why their Mayor wants to shut down Hampstead Police Station, despite the pleas of residents, Councillors and Andrew Dismore, the GLA member. The Lib Dems will be very upset with this result too. This ward should have been a straight fight between them and the Tories, and this had been such a stronghold for them. As we saw in May, Londoners do not like Mr Clegg, and are heeding his advice not to vote for his party.
A final word about our candidate, Maddy Raman. He was quite simply brilliant. This ward has never had a history of returning Labour Councillors. But we had an exceptional, hard working candidate who was out there fighting in the last mews. Intelligent, energetic, personable; he was simply the perfect by election candidate. He and his team should be very proud of what they achieved.