Hackney mayoral by-election: Cabinet member Caroline Woodley chosen as Labour’s candidate

Labour candidate Caroline Woodley. Photograph: Jannine Newman

Labour has selected a senior councillor as its candidate in the mayoral by-election – as the party fights to retain a position it has held since it was introduced 21 years ago.

Caroline Woodley is currently the cabinet member for families, parks and leisure.

She was picked from a shortlist by local Labour party members ahead of fellow cabinet member Mete Coban, who previously ran for selection as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Kensington.

The online hustings was chaired by a London regional executive from the Labour party.

Woodley was first elected to the council in 2018, gaining a seat in Cazenove ward from the Liberal Democrats.

She said Hackney needs a “strong and compassionate leader to spearhead a campaigning Labour council”, adding: “I know that right now we need to rebuild trust with the people of Hackney, and I would make this a priority of my administration.”

The by-election follows the resignation of Hackney’s second directly-elected mayor, Philip Glanville.

He quit the £87,000-a-year role after apologising for an “error of judgement” when he was photographed at a party with newly elected councillor Tom Dewey hours after learning he had been arrested.

Dewey was sentenced in August after admitting five charges of possessing indecent images of children.

Cllr Woodley pledged to continue plans to build more council homes in Hackney to help tackle the housing crisis and make the borough more resilient in the climate crisis. She is involved in schemes such as tree-planting and working with residents to ensure new trees are watered.

She said: “I’m proud to be part of a Labour administration that stands up for community investment and social justice, while doing everything in our power to tackle the climate and housing crisis.

“I know there’s so much to do – from building new council housing, to protecting our local ecology and making the borough more inclusive. If elected as the next Mayor of Hackney, I will work tirelessly every day to deliver a greener, fairer borough and the outstanding services our residents deserve.”

Cllr Woodley recently apologised to families of children with special educational needs who attend schools at risk of closure – after they were given just over two weeks to pick a new school.

She was also involved in a review that could have seen the closure of two local children’ centres. The plan was paused in 2021.

The Green Party has picked Dalston councillor Zoë Garbett as its candidate.

She is also contesting the London mayoral election next year.

Garbett took second place to Labour in last year’s mayoral election in Hackney, landing 17 per cent of the vote.

The Town Hall has yet to announce the by-election date, but insiders suggest it could be the second week in November. It has to be held within 35 days of yesterday’s formal announcement of a vacancy.

Hackney Cycling Campaign has announced that it will hold an election hustings on Wednesday 4 October.