In a surprise result for the ruling Labour party, Ian Sharer has won the Cazenove ward by-election for the Conservatives with 53.6 per cent of the vote.
The Liberal Democrat-turned-Tory took the seat from Labour, whose candidate Laura Pascal placed second with 30.9 per cent.
It caps a turbulent week for Pascal, who was suspended by Labour following an allegation of transphobia, only to be reinstated hours before polls opened.
Green candidate Tamara Micner took third place with a 12.8 per cent share of the vote, and Liberal Democrat Dave Raval came in last with 2.4 per cent.
Turnout for the by-election was 31.9 per cent.
Sharer was absent from the count due to illness, but according to Conservative spokesperson Simche Steinberger, the ex-councillor’s decision to change parties was motivated by opposition to the Town Hall’s low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) policy.
“This is a referendum on LTNs,” Steinberger told the Citizen.
In a statement on X, Hackney Conservatives said: “We are delighted to welcome Ian Sharer as the newly elected Conservative councillor for Cazenove ward.
“Thank you to the residents of Cazenove ward for this historic victory. We are honoured to be representing all our communities and will continue to oppose the rollout of LTNs.”
The Cazenove seat was previously held by Caroline Woodley, who had to give up her position as councillor when she became Mayor of Hackney last November.
The by-election sparked more interest than most such contests.
Cazenove had long been a Liberal Democrat-Labour marginal, but at this election, Sharer, who represented the ward as a Liberal Democrat between 2002 and 2018, jumped camps.
Green councillor Alastair Binnie-Lubbock joked: “Before he was a Lib Dem councillor, he was a Labour councillor too. We look forward to him joining the Greens so he can complete his set!”
Reacting to the results on social media, Hackney Green Party said: “Tamara Micner and all the campaigners did us proud, increasing the Green vote share in an eventful by-election.”
They added: “Thanks to all residents of Cazenove who voted.”
Liberal Democrat Dave Raval was not present at the count, and Laura Pascal did not want to comment when approached by the Citizen.
The full results of the by-election are as follows:
Ian Sharer, Conservative and Unionist Party, 1,623 votes.
Laura Pascal, Labour Party, 935 votes.
Tamara Micner, Green Party, 387 votes.
Dave Raval, Liberal Democrats, 73 votes.