Liberal Democrats select Simon de Deney for mayoral by-election

Simon de Deney

Simon de Deney, Liberal Democrat candidate for Hackney mayoral by-election 2023. Photograph: Simon de Deney. Free for use by partners of BBC news wire service

Actor and former school governor Simon de Deney has been selected as the Liberal Democrats candidate in Hackney’s mayoral by-election.

It is the second time he has run for mayor and got involved in politics after helping ex-gang members start their own businesses and stay away from crime.

He joined the Liberal Democrats in 2010.

The Stoke Newington resident took fourth place to Labour in the 2014 election when 3,840 people voted for him.

Voters will go to the polls in Hackney on Thursday 9 November to select a new mayor.

Hackney has had directly elected mayors since 2002. The top political role on the council also comes with a salary and responsibility for drawing up a corporate plan, including priorities and budgets.

Mr de Deney said he plans to “fight hard for local communities to be at the heart of building the 12,000 social homes that Hackney so desperately needs.”

He called for more homes when he ran for office in 2014 and said the need is still urgent now.

He is the director of a business which helps people communicate more effectively and has won Arts Council awards for his company and writing commissions for BBC comedies.

He has worked at the Young Vic Theatre as director and led workshops at the Barbican Theatre.

Mr de Deney served as chair of governors at Shacklewell Primary School for seven years and was a parent governor at Grasmere Primary School. He also sat on the Learning Trust’s Schools Forum which scrutinises Hackney’s education budget.

He led the “yes to alternative vote” campaign in Hackney and said he was proud it achieved the highest Yes vote in the UK in the 2011 referendum. Campaigners wanted second preference votes counted if there was no clear winner in an election.

He is the third candidate to be announced in the by-election following the resignation of Labour’s Philip Glanville last month.

The Mayor quit after making an “error of judgement” when he was photographed at a party with a new councillor, Tom Dewey, hours after the then mayor was told Dewey had been arrested.

Tom Dewey was given a 12-month suspended sentence for possession of 1,850 indecent images of children by a judge in August.

The Green party candidate is Zoë Garbett, who ran for election as mayor in May 2022. She is also standing in next year’s London mayoral contest.

Labour selected Hackney Council’s cabinet member Caroline Woodley, who has responsibility for families, parks and leisure.

Gwenton Sloley ran on the Hackney People Before Profit ticket last year when he came fifth. He has ruled himself out of this year’s by-election.

He said: “Sometimes, we have to quit while we’re ahead.”

He has decided to retire from politics rather risk “tarnishing the memory and history of my first mayoral campaign in Hackney.”

Would-be candidates have to submit their nomination papers by Friday 13 October.