London Assembly elections: Meet the seven candidates battling it out to represent Hackney

Whoever is elected will take a seat in City Hall’s riverside headquarters. Photograph: Wikicommons

Londoners will go to the polls on 2 May to elect both a mayor and the members of the Greater London Assembly (GLA).

Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest make up the GLA constituency for north-east London, and seven candidates will vie for their votes.

Here are the contenders:

Pearce Branigan is the Conservative Party candidate.

His focus will be on tackling knife crime, sexual harassment, building new homes, and scrapping London’s ultra low emission zone (ULEZ).

Branigan has not responded to requests for an interview with the Citizen, but he recently told the Waltham Forest Echo: “London is the greatest city in the world. It was the place I was born and the place I call home.

“Under Labour, it has become increasingly tough to get by. I want Londoners to thrive, not just survive.”

Tan Bui is standing as an independent candidate.

Bui could not be reached for comment, but his X (formerly Twitter) bio states that he would like to be the mayor for Lewisham.

In the 2021 GLA elections, Bui stood as an independent in Greenwich and Lewisham, finishing in last place with 1,851 votes.

In the run-up to that election, Bui used his X account to champion the protection of parks and the tackling of violence against women and girls.

Antoinette Fernandez is the Green Party’s hopeful.

She is also standing in the De Beauvoir ward by-election in Hackney on 2 May.

Fernandez told the Citizen that she is determined to be a voice for all Londoners, regardless of background.

She lives in Hackney and said her main focus for the borough would be tackling the housing crisis, working towards rent reductions and rent caps, and combatting gentrification.

Fernandez is a supporter of the East London Waterworks Campaign, and said, if elected, she will support the growth of Black-led grassroots organisations, which she believes have been marginalised, particularly in Islington.

Tony Glover is the Reform UK party candidate.

Glover told the Citizen that despite his current Tower Hamlets address, he is tied to Hackney, Islington, and Waltham Forest through his family history.

Before turning to politics, Glover worked as a civil servant and specialised in energy.

If elected, he will work towards delivering the Reform UK manifesto, which includes tripling visible policing levels, removing LTNs, 20mph zones and ULEZ, and increasing the amount of affordable housing.

Rebecca Jones is standing for the Liberal Democrats.

At the age of 20, this is the second election she’s contested, having previously run for a council seat in Tower Hamlets.

Jones said: “London is an incredibly diverse city, and the assembly should reflect that.

“I’m a young LGBTQ+ woman who wants to be part of that diversity.”

Jones’ key manifesto points includes adding more night tubes and buses, challenging rising rents, and advocating for complete police reform, with a focus on improving its services for marginalised communities.

Labour candidate Sem Moema is the incumbent North East GLA member, and she is standing for re-election.

Moema has not yet responded to requests for comment, but pledges on her website to “stand up for our migrant communities in the face of horrible rhetoric and policy from the Conservative government”.

Moema is also a councillor in Hackney, as well as the borough’s deputy cabinet member for private rented sector and housing affordability.

She says she is “lobbying the government hard on rent controls in the private rented sector”, and also wants more public-facing police desks, better bus routes, more frequent trains, and more council houses.

Nancy Taaffe is the candidate for Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

Taaffe describes herself as a “long-standing East London resident, trade union and community campaigner” who is not “another career politician”.

Speaking to the Citizen, Taaffe was vocal in her opposition to the Israeli bombing of Gaza, and critical of Labour’s reluctance to call for a ceasefire.

She is also the chair of the Walthamstow Save Our Square campaign, and, if elected, has pledged to build more council homes and to introduce rent control.

She will also campaign for investment into public services, particularly youth services. This includes wider availability of free school meals, an expansion of youth services that have been closed under austerity, and a minimum wage of £15 an hour without youth exemptions.

You can find out more about how to vote here.