Belsize: Results delayed as Tories trigger recount
Lib Dem Tom Simon and Tory Steve Adams understood to be elected, with third place contested
04 May, 2018 — By William McLennan
Chalcots residents Tom Simon appeared to be in front
The election count for Belsize was dramatically suspended in the early hours of this morning after the Conservatives demanded a recount.
It is understood that one Tory candidate, the incumbent councillor Leila Roy, had missed out by just five votes at the first count.
Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems had poured resources into the ward, which was at the centre of national attention last summer during the evacuation of the Chalcots estate.
While not yet confirmed, it is believed that Lib Dem Tom Simon and Conservative Steve Adams have both been comfortably elected, with Lib Dem Luisa Porritt in third place. The recount will take place at Camden Town Hall at midday.
Mr Simon, who lives on the Chalcots estate and has placed his commitment to representing fellow residents at the heart of his campaign, said it is impossible to know how many votes came from Chalcots.
“I’m sure it had an effect, but I couldn’t tell you how significant it was,” he said.
Regardless he said that the evacuation and treatment of the residents was part of his mandate and said the estate’s works would be a “top priority” for him.
“I have been trying to do things as a TRA rep, but there is only so much you can do like that and I hope as a councillor I can do more to stand up, to help give people their a voice. I think Camden needs a strong Liberal Democrats voice, we offer an alternative voice that I think is much needed in British politics at the moment.”
Cllr Roy, who spent much of the first few nights of the evacuation helping out at the Swiss Cottage leisure centre, had received the backing of many of the most vocal residents on the estate. Her absence from the Town Hall will be a blow to some on the estate, who felt she provided consistent support for residents and scrutiny of the Labour leadership. If the estimated five-vote margin is accurate, it is still possible that she will be re-elected later today after the recount.
Nigel Rumble, another Chalcots resident, stood as an independent candidate. It is thought he received somewhere in the region 200 votes.
Mr Rumble said: “I knew when I put myself forward the chance for an independent was very low, but the reason I did it was principally to give a voice to the community of the Chalcots. The residents there have been through a lot. I felt it I owed it to them to represent them by doing this.”