Harini Iyengar is a WEP candidate in the upcoming London Assembly elections.
Photograph: MJ Widomska

The Women’s Equality Party (WEP) has announced it will not field any candidates in Hackney’s by-elections in May as it focuses its efforts on winning a first London Assembly seat.

Voters will choose new councillors in four of the borough’s wards this summer – Kings Park, Hoxton East and Shoreditch, Stamford Hill West, and Woodberry Down.

But WEP, which has previously contested council seats, will forgo these battles in favour of the London elections, where it says “smaller parties can and do win” because they are based on proportional representation.

The party is urging voters to give it their vote on the orange London Assembly ballot on 6 May, the same day as Hackney’s by-elections take place.

Rebecca Lammers, spokesperson for Hackney WEP, said: “Violence against women and girls is not inevitable, it can be stopped, as long as the political will exists. The best way to show this is by using your vote and demanding the candidates you vote for to make ending gender-based violence their top political priority.

“The London elections are based on proportional representation, so smaller parties can and do win. We believe that our best opportunity to make ending violence against women and girls a political and policing priority is by winning our first seat on the Greater London Assembly.”

Local resident Harini Iyengar is a WEP candidate on the Londonwide list for an Assembly seat. She was previously a parliamentary candidate in Hackney in the 2017 General Election, and stood in council and mayoral elections in the borough a year later.

Lammers added: “We are confident she is the best person for the job to ensure a gendered lens is applied to policy across London.”

While not standing candidates, the party will instead host an online hustings series in Hackney from 12-16 April, dedicated to the topic of ending violence against Black women and girls and moderated by local domestic violence charity Sistah Space.

The party hopes the free evening events will help educate voters about the various by-election candidates, and is encouraging anyone interested to book a ticket.

You can reserve a spot here

Support us

The coronavirus outbreak meant that the Hackney Citizen was unable to print a monthly newspaper for three months.

We're grateful that we have since been able to resume printing. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our readers, whose donations kept the paper from disappearing completely at a distressing time for residents.

A huge thank you to everyone who gave their time and money to support us through the lockdown, and to those who continue to do so as we slowly recover from the dramatic fall in advertising revenues, on top of the existing challenges threatening the future of local journalism.

A one-off donation or a regular contribution from anyone who can afford it will help our small team keep the newspaper in print and the website running in the coming months and years.

Find out how you can donate.

Thank you for your support, and stay safe.

The Hackney Citizen team