Hackney’s political parties have begun dissecting the results of last week’s European elections – with a general consensus that the largely Remain-supporting borough has firmly doubled down on its rejection of Brexit.
Labour topped the polls locally with a 35 per cent share of the 68,027 votes cast, followed by the Liberal Democrats on 23.5 per cent.
The Green party finished a close third with a 23.1 per cent share, whilst the Brexit party won fourth place with six per cent.
Next came Change UK on 5.4 per cent, beating the Conservatives, who got 3.1 per cent of the vote, the Women’s Equality Party, which finished with a 1.2 per cent, and UKIP, on one per cent.
Hackney’s Labour Mayor Philip Glanville believes the borough has “wholeheartedly rejected both this out of touch, leaderless Tory government and its plans for a hard or ‘no deal’ Brexit”.
He said: “I can’t recall a time when the Tories or a national party of government got less than five per cent of the vote in the borough.
“Hackney Labour and other Remain-supporting parties won this election.”
Glanville added: “While the country is clearly divided, nationally we are the only party attempting to bridge that divide; and locally we continue to represent and listen to the vast majority of Hackney residents that, like Hackney Labour, are overwhelmingly and proudly pro-European and want to remain in the EU.”
He said the party will “continue to stand on our record and deliver for local residents who want action on climate change, the housing crisis and crime, whilst protecting frontline services”.
But a delighted Darren Martin, vice chair of the Hackney Liberal Democrats, claims the vote shows the majority of people in the borough “have had enough of Labour enabling a Tory Brexit”.
He said: “It was an amazing election for the Liberal Democrats. We more than quadrupled our vote in Hackney from 2014 with just under 16,000 voters putting their faith in us and helping to elect three new Liberal MEPs for London, where we beat Labour overall for the first time in a London-wide election.”
Martin added: “The Remain parties which back a People’s Vote – us, the Greens and Change UK – got over 35,000 votes in Hackney, way more than Labour, which has consistently backed the Conservatives on Brexit.
“The future for the Remain cause has to be for the Remain parties to work closely together to stop Brexit and protect progressive values. I hope we can do that both locally and nationally.”
Hackney Green Party spokesperson Samir Jeraj echoed Martin’s analysis of what the local result means for Labour.
He said: “The Greens had a great night across the UK, with inspiring people like Magid Magid getting elected.
“In Hackney we got the highest Green vote in London as the Labour vote plummeted.
“It’s clear the people of Hackney aren’t happy with Labour’s Brexit policies.
“We’ve already seen a bump in membership and we’ll be looking to keep up the pressure.”
Thank you to every one of our voters in #Hackney & London – each vote for @WEP_UK is a vote for safer, more prosperous lives for women (& men) across Europe because WE fought for more humane immigration, to protect & value NHS & care workers and to decriminalise abortion. 🙏🙏— Women's Equality Party Hackney (@WomenHackney) May 26, 2019
The local Women’s Equality Party also took to Twitter to “thank every one of our voters in Hackney and London”.
The party said each vote for them was for “safer, more prosperous lives for women (and men) across Europe because we fought for more humane immigration, to protect and value the NHS and care workers and to decriminalise abortion”.
Despite the Nigel Farage-led Brexit Party’s fairly weak showing in Hackney, Lance Forman, who runs a salmon smokery on Fish Island, will represent it in the European parliament after winning a seat in London.
Forman, whose salmon-shaped headquarters recently had a swastika sprayed on it, said on Twitter that the Brexit Party’s two new MEPs in the capital “will do whatever we can to ensure Brexit is delivered by 31 October”, adding that the “will of the people must be honoured”.