Barrister Ben Hayhurst to stand for Labour in council byelection

Ben Hayhurst

Ben Hayhurst, Labour candidate for the Hackney central byelection. Photograph: Hackney Labour party

Barrister Ben Hayhurst is the Labour party’s candidate in the upcoming council by-election for Hackney Central ward.

Mr Hayhurst, 30, has lived in Hackney for eight years with his partner Helen and has been a criminal barrister since 2004.

He specialises in heavyweight crime and tax litigation and, as an intern at the United Nations in 2003, worked on the prosecution of former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic.

However, until the Hackney Citizen quizzed him about it, no mention of his successful legal career could be found on the Hackney Labour party website – it merely stated that his previous experience includes a stint as a residential care worker.

Mr Hayhurst says he is passionate about improving services for young people in the borough and, even though his party biography originally omitted his professional background, he believes it makes him well-qualified to serve as a councillor.

He told the Hackney Citizen: “I am very passionate about youth provision. Working in the criminal justice system as a barrister I see the most vulnerable amongst us — young people, many with mental health problems — caught in the revolving door of the system with a lack of support, jobs, housing, prospects or any sort of positive framework to make a go if it.

“If I can help facilitate provision for the young people in Hackney then I think I would feel as if I had achieved something.”

Mr Hayhurst is no stranger to local politics, having worked for some time as an assistant to Meg Hillier, Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch.

Nor is this the first time he has sought public office. In 2010 he put himself forward for nomination as the Labour candidate for the Oldham East and Saddleworth parliamentary by-election.

He was unsuccessful on that occasion, but the LabourList blog has highlighted him as “one to watch for the future.”

On his selection as the candidate to replace Labour councillor Alan Laing, who is resigning to take up a new job, Mr Hayhurst says: “I am proud to have been chosen by local Labour members to contest the by-election.

“Alan worked tirelessly for residents in Hackney Central and helped to make some of the great improvements in services that residents have seen in the area.”

Mr Hayhurst expects strong support: “We are confident that Hackney Central residents will continue to back Labour both in this local election and in the [London] Mayoral election – especially in light of the Tory and Lib Dem Government’s assault on public services in areas like ours where the impact is felt most acutely.”

The Hackney Central ward by-election takes place on Thursday 3 May.


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