De Beauvoir by-election: Meet the four hopefuls running to be councillor

Voters will go to the polls yet again in one Hackney ward this November

Four people are contesting the seat vacated by Labour’s Polly Billington

Residents of De Beauvoir will be voting for a new councillor on 2 May.

Four candidates are hoping to replace outgoing Labour councillor Polly Billington.

Billington is moving on after being selected as a parliamentary candidate in East Thanet.

Below are the by-election hopefuls, listed in the order in which they will appear on the ballot.

Antoinette Fernandez, Green Party

Green Party candidate Antoinette Fernandez. Photograph: courtesy Antoinette Fernandez

Fernandez, who has lived in Hackney for almost 16 years, told the Citizen: “I want to become a councillor to improve the wellbeing of my community.

“I am determined to be a key voice in holding our Labour-majority council to account and ensuring that all of De Beauvoir is represented.”

Fernandez said she “supports measures to solve the cost-of-living crisis, including community-led universal basic income trials, and will work hard to be a much-needed independent Green voice for De Beauvoir’s residents and businesses”.

She added: “From school closures to unfair recycling charges, a desperate need for rent controls, and safe and affordable homes, I have spent time listening to De Beauvoir’s residents.

“I will push our Labour-led council to expedite repairs to the three council estates and ensure that community centres with appropriate capacity and accessibility are provided on the estates.

“I also believe that low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) can be more holistic if placed in consideration and consultation with residents.”

Tareke Gregg, Conservative Party

Conservative hopeful Tareke Gregg. Image: Tareke Gregg / Instagram

The Citizen reached out to Hackney Conservatives, but they did not respond to our request for an interview with Tareke Gregg.

In an Instagram post announcing his candidacy, Gregg said: “I am committed to representing the interests of all residents in De Beauvoir. I firmly believe in listning to your concerns and working tireslessly to address them.”

He stated that “some key areas I’ll be focusing on” are the “removal of low traffic neighbourhoods”, “community safety” and “a collaborative approach with local police, organisations, residents, and businesses”.

Jasmine Martins, Labour Party

Labour Party candidate Jasmine Martins. Photograph: courtesy Hackney Labour

Born and raised in Hackney, Martins now works in local government.

According to Hackney Labour, Martins is “committed to securing the future of our community spaces, backing the Hackney Green New Deal to deliver local climate goals, and engaging with residents on the housing issues that matter to them most”.

Martins said: “I’m delighted to receive the backing of De Beauvoir Labour members and to have the opportunity to discuss our vision for a greener, fairer borough with local people.

“Despite 14 years of Tory cuts to local government finances, Hackney Labour continues to show real ambition for our borough and an unwavering commitment to social, racial and environmental justice.

“If elected, I will work with Hackney Council and all residents of De Beauvoir to deliver the climate resilience and decent homes our community needs.”

Thrusie Maurseth-Cahill – Liberal Democrat Party Candidate.

Thrusie Maurseth-Cahill is standing for the Liberal Democrats. Photograph: Hackney Lib Dems

Maurseth-Cahill told the Citizen: “I made Hackney my home nearly 25 years ago after moving to the UK to work, and it is here that I have raised my children.

“We lived in De Beauvoir for several years, which we loved, and now live just a short distance north.”

The 49-year-old works for a UK humanitarian charity, and her career has seen her involved in government relations, corporate responsibility, and human rights philanthropy.

This is the second time in two years that Maurseth-Cahill is running for councillor in De Beauvoir.

“Hackney council needs more diversity of views,” she said. “With a near unanimous Labour council, policies are simply not being scrutinised with the constructive criticism that a Liberal Democrat councillor can bring.

“I want to bring the scrutiny that will make Hackney planning and policy work better for everyone.”

She added: “I am concerned that many planning and policy changes, however well intentioned, are completely overlooking the needs of important groups in our community.

“They are limiting transport without considering the needs of people with limited mobility, introducing waste charges with no concessionary pricing, and redesigning high streets while ignoring the needs of small businesses, to name a few.”