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Prominent Labour councillor Luke Akehurst to stand down at local elections

Luke Akehurst

Stepping down: prominent Labour councillor Luke Akehurst

Prominent councillor Luke Akehurst is one of 18 Hackney Labour councillors standing down at next month’s local elections.

Cllr Akehurst, who is chair of Hackney Council’s Health Scrutiny Commission and a former Hackney Labour Group chief whip, was first elected to represent Chatham ward in 2002.

He served for two years on the National Executive Committee and is campaigning to return to the powerful body, which governs the Labour Party.

Other Labour councillors standing down include cabinet members Rita Krishna, Karen Alcock and Samantha Lloyd.

Cllr Akehurst is moving to Oxford with his wife, Clissold ward councillor Linda Smith.

Cllr Akehurst said the fact so many serving Labour councillors were stepping down was “certainly not political”. He added” “It is kind of a natural generational thing. There were a bunch of us elected in 2002 and then a second group in 2006, who at the time we were elected had fewer personal commitments and fewer job commitments because we were younger, and it’s very time consuming to do this stuff properly.

“In my case and my wife’s case we’ve got two young children now. We wanted to move to be nearer to her family.”

Cllr Akehurst, a prolific blogger, also revealed he felt flattered by a spoof Luke Akehurst blog set up by anonymous satirists which pilloried his views on nuclear deterrence and Israel. The blog has been dormant since 2009.

Cllr Akehurst said: “I did find it funny. I’m lucky I have got very thick skin and a sense of humour.

“The only times I got upset with it were when they took pictures of my house or put personal information on the internet about my address, because actually there is a personal safety issue there.

“I also didn’t like them having a go at my wife or my son because they didn’t chose to share my political life, but I thought it would have been as ridiculous to protest about people parodying me – given I’ve got quite strident, easy to parody views on some things – as it would have been if Tony Blair had gotten cross because Private Eye ran Vicar of Albion’s diary.

“Actually it’s a backhanded compliment. If they consider you worthy of putting that much energy into, you’ve got to be doing something to annoy them.”

A longer interview with Luke Akehurst will appear in the Hackney Citizen after the election in May.


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